Notting Hill: The West London enclave defying London’s house price slump

Sebastian McCarthy
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Portobello Road is one of Notting Hill's most iconic streets (Source: Getty)

With its annual carnival, famous market and edgy-cum-glamorous feel, Notting Hill has never been a place to conform to the norms of other Central London neighbourhoods.

And it is in keeping with such independence that while many of the capital’s prime residential hotspots are currently undergoing a slump, the West London enclave’s property market has been showing many signs of health.

According to Lonres data, in the six months between October 2018 to March 2019 average house prices in Notting Hill were nearly £1.9m, rising 3.1 per cent from the previous year. Quite some feat, given that the average annual price for a house in prime London has sunk 5.5 per cent over the same period.

Transactions in the area have dipped 3.8 per cent, but the average drop across Central London has been 7.4 per cent, and in nearby South Kensington, transactions have plummeted more than 29 per cent.

Experts and agents seem to cite a number of factors for the resilience of the area, which has largely shrugged off the Brexit uncertainty of the last few months.

"Notting Hill appears to be weathering the storm of uncertainty more successfully than its neighbours," according to Marcus Dixon, head of research at Lonres.

He adds: "Buyers seem to view Notting Hill as a kind of urban village, self-sufficient enough to provide residents with great shops, restaurants, schools and access to open spaces though parks and garden squares, but also providing easy access into the City and West End."

Dixon also says that persistent demand from US buyers has kept the area’s estate agents busy.

One man who agrees with that verdict is Guy Gittins, the managing director of Chestertons, who has seen applicants within his Notting Hill office rise 31 per cent year-on-year: "American buyers are very attracted by the currency trade at the moment…When you combine this with Notting Hill being the most recognisable location for our friends over the pond (yes, this is the long-lasting effect of the movie) it tends to be at the top of Americans shopping list when they start their search for a London property."

For foreign buyers, Gittins says that the area has everything: "The café culture of Westbourne Grove, the eclectic shops/stalls of Portobello Road, beautiful period buildings (ranging from small studios to large detached Victorian villas), brilliant primary schools, and excellent transport links."

It also helps, he adds, that "there is always a solid stream of celebrities moving into the area."

It is not just demand but supply as well that is fuelling the price rise. Gittins says that "the pool of available properties on the market is down and shrinking at an alarming rate: 473 properties are currently available, compared to 748 at this time last year."

Yet it seems that a floppy-haired Hugh Grant in the film that set the seal of ‘cool’ upon Notting Hill in the 1990s probably still has as much to do with area’s current resilience as anything else. Its glamorous image is seemingly trumping the fears of Brexit uncertainty for many house hunters.

As Dixon puts it: "These buyers have got to the point where they are thinking that, despite Brexit, ‘we just kind of want to get on with our lives’."