House prices in certain areas London seem to have always risen. Even amid the economic turmoil since the 2008 global economic crisis, aside from a few token dips, prestigious locations have seen prices grow and grow, by as much as 50 percent since 2009 according to some sources. Knightsbridge is one of those areas in central London and one property that has recently come onto the market has blown even this expensive location up to more stratospheric heights in property prices.
On the market for a staggering £300 million, it is a Georgian property at 2-8a Rutland Gate, which overlooks the southern border of Hyde Park, and is suitably luxurious. Originally seven different homes, the property now boasts 45 bedrooms, seven storeys, an underground car park, swimming pool, and a very indulgent decorative scheme – the gold leaf used through the house is thought to cost several millions of pounds alone. It comes with several lifts to get around the house and, aptly, given the exceedingly wealthy individuals who form the small potential market for the house, it comes fitted with bulletproof windows. It comprises over 60,000 square feet, which is just short of the size of a football pitch. Previous owners include former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and Sultan bin Abdulaziz, crown prince of Saudi Arabia. If the property were to sell at its asking price, the stamp duty alone would total £21 million. As such, it is not for public sale, but will be offered to a select group of individuals privately. The floor plans are a closely guarded secret.
While the number of individuals who can afford such a house is small, there will no doubt be interested parties. The global rich are not immune to the effects of recession and global economic deflation, and are increasingly seeking safe havens for their money. The traditional robust housing market in central London is regarded as one of these. And, the influx of money, notably from Russia and India, fuels price rises in turn. At present, demand for houses at the top end in prime locations outstrips supply, keeping prices high. Even so, the asking price dwarfs the previous record for a property sale in the UK, the £140 million paid by a Russian banker for a property in Henley. In London, the record is £136 million for a penthouse suite in another Knightsbridge property.
In relation to the borough
Knightsbridge sits in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the most expensive borough in the capital. Average house prices here stands at just shy of £1.1 million.
In relation to the city
London as a whole continues to buck the trend for house prices in the UK. The Land Registry lists the average house price in Greater London at £364,059 as of August 2012 .
In relation to the country
To see just how expensive the Rutland Gate property is, compare it to the average price of a home in the United Kingdom, which, as of August 2012 stands at £163,376. It is more than 1800 times the price.
By Luis Simmons, property expert and freelance writer from London.