English Heritage blue plaques herald many a great home in the capital. While they’re fun for history hunting tourists, the famous individuals also have a palpable effect on house prices from beyond the grave.
Aubrey Walk, Holland Park, £15.5m
This seven bedroom house once belonged to soul singer Dusty Springfield. It was her home from 1968 to 1972 with her lover Nora Tanega.
Springfield lived there when her most famous hit ‘Son of A Preacher Man’ came out, but she was also known for ‘I Only Want to be With You’, ‘Wishin’ and Hopin’’ and ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’. She died in Henley-on-Thames in 1999.
The estate agent handling the sale, David Adams from Humberts, thinks the celebrity connection carries a fair bit of currency with housebuyers, even in the current climate.
“It depends obviously who the person is and whether they’re liked by the buyer, but I do think that think having that celebrity endorsement certainly helps,” he says. “I would have thought that if I had a property that used to be owned by someone like Churchill or a Royal family member then that would add considerably more value but if you go down through the blue plaques to more obscure people then it might not have as much kudos. But Dusty was a well known singer, which is good for us.”
It’s just as well because the property has recently seen a £1m price reduction, largely in line with other Prime Central London price tumbles due to political upheaval and stamp duty reform.
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Still, the house has more than a bona fide member of the British Invasion to mark it out. It’s actually two houses knocked into one so the footprint is enormous, spanning 7,200sqft including a 35ft pool.
That amount of lateral space is fairly rare for Aubrey Walk, which is moments away from Holland Park itself, close to Campden Hill Square, one of London’s most sought after garden squares.
The Art Deco house also boasts a spa, a roof terrace and off-street parking.
It’s been a family home for a number of years and Adams imagines it will be again soon. “Most of the houses across Kensington, Holland Park and Notting Hill have four or five bedrooms, so if the average family is two adults with two or three children, that’s fine.
“But if you’ve got a big family, or two families that have come together, let’s say you have two divorcees that had teenagers before they got together, then your average four or five bed terrace seriously cramps your style if you’re accommodating that number of people.
“It’s a great home for teenagers because there are different living areas on different floors so everyone can get away from each other. If you’ve got five or six of them living in a property, then it’s the separation of areas that’s appealing. This house is one of those rare commodities that allows you to do that.”
It’s been on the market since last year and now the current family are moving on to pastures new.
Call Humberts on 0203 284 18 88 or visit humberts.com