Chelsea is an effortless combination of exclusivity and affluence. The district lies almost entirely within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, apart from Chelsea Harbour which is located in London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
It has evolved from being an artistic quarter in the 19th Century inhabited by Pre-Raphaelite artists and the Chelsea School of Art situated in Manresa Road. In the swinging sixties and early 1970’s, Chelsea’s Kings Road became synonymous with fashion, glamour and the music of the era. From the late 1970’s, the increasing gentrification of both Notting Hill and Camden encouraged a shift for creative and bohemian types away from Chelsea. From this point, Chelsea enjoying rising property prices has attracted city bankers and famous names, and young professionals as its residents, all of whom are attracted by the plethora of amenities, good transport links into central London and beyond, and excellent schools.
Although quintessentially English, over 6 per cent of its residents were born in the US, and in the past decade it has become one of the preferred homes for modern Europeans, particularly the French. Residents are drawn to the ‘village feel’ Chelsea retains the air of a real ‘neighbourhood’. Jamie Hope, Managing Director at Maskells says: “Chelsea brings an air of familiarity, enjoying more constant occupation than say Knightsbridge or Mayfair where far more properties are not lived in permanently.”
Rory McGougan, Director at Hanover Private Office agrees: “What makes Chelsea stand out is its independence from the rest of London. It is one of very few locations in central London that you can go for extended periods of time without leaving. It offers everything you need from retail, to world class restaurants. It does it all, whilst retaining a village atmosphere as well – lovely squares, food markets, local businesses that have been there for decades – and also a varied population.”
In terms of architecture, mostly built 1850-1890, the majority of dwellings are town houses and period conversions such as those found in Redcliffe Square, SW10, where bigger houses have been split into flats. Lovely garden squares abound in Chelsea. “The most sought after would be The Boltons, Carlyle Square, Wellington Square and Markham Square,” says Rory McGougan, Hanover Private Office. “Chelsea offers a bit of everything, there are great mansion flats on Culford Gardens and St Loo Avenue, modern lateral apartments in Kings Chelsea and Cheyne Terrace with beautiful townhouses dotted around both SW3 and SW10. If you like a nice view then property on Tite Street, Cheyne Walk and Royal Hospital Road offers the best on show. I think there are a handful of roads which define Chelsea – Smith Terrace, Glebe Place, Carlyle Square, and the roads surrounding Burton Court.”
Charlie Parkin, Associate director at Aylesford International agrees that, “Chelsea has everything one could want – it’s vibrant with pleasing architecture and green spaces. Some of the most desirable streets as Upper Cheyne Row, Cheyne Walk, The Boltons. Houses on Carlyle Square have particularly fine views and the properties are quite wide and enjoy views towards Chelsea Embankment and Battersea Park. Chelsea Square gardens and Manresa Road residents benefit from private gardens.
Jamie Hope at Maskells says that, “Chelsea Square, Carlyle Square, Radnor Walk, Cadogan Street and St Leonard’s Terrace define true Chelsea and for some of the best views – Old Church Street, where the Duchess of Cambridge shared a flat with sister Pippa Middleton, which her parents purchased in 2002.”
SW3 is the heart of prime Chelsea prices achieve more the nearer one gets to Sloane Square. Heading into SW10 east of SW3 prices are generally a little lower due to it being further from the tube. However, there are some addresses that achieve a premium, properties situated within The Boltons Conservation Area and the Ten Acre Estate, The Little Boltons, Tregunter Road, The Boltons, and Gilston Road.
Jamie Hope from Maskells says that buyers should expect to pay between “£3.5m to £6.5m for a townhouse with many larger houses being positioned right at the top end of the market. The price of flats and apartments can range from £600,000 to in excess of £35m. The values are relatively stable with the area having seen significant growth over the last few years.”
Rory McGougan at Hanover Private Office says that, “For a good 3000 sq.ft townhouse you will be looking to pay at least £2250 per square foot and for an uncompromised lateral apartment on the prime roads think of £2500/sq.ft as a starting point. As a buy to let investment prospect it is extremely popular with all generations from young twenty somethings to families and the older generations. It offers so much that for anyone investing and the ongoing improvements to transport make it a strong investment for the coming decades too.”
Unlike the current performance of its premier league football team, Chelsea looks destined to stay at the top as one of London’s most desirable property hotspots. It offers thriving café culture, countless bars including Bluebird and The Beaufort, and some of London’s finest restaurants – Bibendum, Theo Fennell, and San Lorenzo, the retail stalwart Peter Jones, fantastic health clubs such as KX gym. Duke of York Square offers an awful lot, with Partridges, restaurants such as The Ivy and The Five Fields, and a Saturday farmers market. Along the Kings Road and off it one can find almost every retail store imaginable. For culture look no further than the Saatchi gallery and Man in the Moon theatre near South Kensington tube. Take a closer look and there are hidden treasures – the Chelsea Arts Club, Burton Court, The Surprise Pub and of course the Chelsea Physic Garden founded in 1673 and one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe.
Charlie Parkin at Aylesford International pays homage to ‘ the classic traditional Englishness that old Chelsea personifies – well-presented Georgian facades, pretty squares with a surprisingly village-like feel given it is so central. More quaint than Kensington, more of a residential village, still managing to be modern and vibrant against a backdrop of sophistication.”
By Amanda Sharpe, Deborah Battsek PR