IF YOU grew up in Britain, chances are you’ll know Mayfair is the most expensive property in Monopoly. In the classic game, buying the dark blue street sets you back an astronomical... £400. These days you’ll do well to buy a square centimetre in Mayfair with that kind of money.
The area’s grand regency mansions used to house the aristocratic politicians of the 18th and 19th centuries. Benjamin Disraeli, George Canning and Archibald Primrose are three Prime Minister former residents who took advantage of the short hop, skip and jump to the Houses of Parliament.
Today, a new global aristocracy are setting up shop there. With many international buyers, including a large proportion from the Middle East, India and Russia, it has increasingly become the district of choice for the international super-rich. As Peter Wetherell of Mayfair estate agent Wetherell’s says, “In the days of the British Empire the world was ruled from the great houses of Mayfair. These days, the people who rule the world want to buy houses there.”
According to David Adams of John Taylor luxury estate agent, this trend shows no sign of relenting. “Mayfair continues to attract substantial high net worth inflows for super prime property purchases from both domestic and overseas buyers. Asset values have continued to grow throughout 2013 with record prices being achieved in most price brackets. A shortage of prime property stock for sale along with demanding vendors has compounded price growth with increases ranging from 5-15 per cent this year, especially for properties below the £2m threshold.”
But the area isn’t just for wealthy foreigners looking to invest in the UK property market. These days the majority of Mayfair is commercial, with many of the old houses having been converted into office space and shops.
If you’re after a beautifully made suit, for example, Mayfair’s Savile Row offers plenty of history and the finest craftsmanship money can buy. Most of the top European fashion houses have shops there too, with Prada on Old Bond Street and Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Burberry on New Bond Street.