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21 November 2007

Bayswater becomes competition for its upmarket neighbours

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by Kay Mitchell

Bayswater becomes competition for its upmarket neighbours

Bayswater is situated between Belgravia and Westbourne Grove and has traditionally been ignored. However, that now seems to be changing. The Victorian terraces and 1930s blocks are being repainted and Jimmy Choo (the luxury fashion designer best known for his hand-made women’s shoes) has opened a store in nearby Connaught Village and other boutiques are following suit.

Neighbours include Tony and Cherie Blair, who purchased a 5-bedroom Georgian house on Connaught Square 3 years ago for £3.65 million (together with the neighbouring mews house they later bought for a reported £800,000) which is now valued at about £5.75 million. Other neighbours include super-model Claudia Schiffer and her film-producer husband, Matthew Vaughn and the Italian jewellery heiress, Ilaria Bulgari.

Charlie Smith, director of the Mayfair office of Sotheby’s International Realty said Bayswater has always been something of a bridesmaid, never the bride.

Mr Smith added that prices in Bayswater are up 40% since January. Furthermore, Bayswater is seeing other large developments targeted at the mega-rich.

Construction of 77 flats, ranging from one-bedroom flats to duplexes and penthouses, started in the summer and are being developed by Northacre. Prices will be available in January 2008.

Northacre’s director, John Hunter, said since the war Bayswater has suffered something of a stigma but the construction of new developments will change that.

Mr Hunter added the prices of existing properties are rocketing, a family house that would have cost £1.85 million in 2006 would now sell for £3 million.

Dick Ford, head of London residential for the Knight Frank agency, said that Bayswater has the same rundown charm the Upper West Side, New York, used to boast. It became fashionable then it expensive and the same is happening to Bayswater.

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