With mews houses now among the most profitable and popular London properties, finance workers would do well to snap up a few in the capital’s professional services heartland, says Alex Stocker
To the average accountant, an audit of the concept behind mews property may not produce the most encouraging initial results. Former stables and carriage houses, often located on small cobbled streets behind “real” roads and houses, could this type of property really prove popular with investors and wealthy buyers in Central London?
The answer is a resounding yes. According to Savills, the average value of mews property in Prime London rose from £350,955 to £2,346,227 between 2005 and 2016 – an almost seven-fold increase in little over 10 years. That is remarkable even by the standards of the capital’s housing market. Moreover, this type of housing fares very favourably against properties more typically thought of as “luxury” within London. In Mayfair, for example, a postcode heaving with huge Georgian townhouses, research from estate agency Wetherell revealed that redeveloped mews in the area fetch £2,750 per sq. ft. – above the local average of £2,500 sq. ft..
There are three main reasons mews houses have come to enjoy such pre-eminence. Firstly, due to their historic function as stables, they are often located behind some of the finest and most famous streets in London. These houses, therefore, enjoy the best-of-both-worlds: always near the heart of things, while retaining some seclusion and privacy. In addition, very few are listed, meaning they can be extended and upgraded far more easily than many other luxury London properties. Lastly but certainly not least, they are rare.
A 2015 survey estimated there are less than 500 mews left in London (many were demolished in the early 20th century), so owning one is something of a novelty.
However, this final point makes it difficult for first-time investors or those not particularly familiar with mews property to snap one up. Such individuals are best off buying in a location they know or can adapt to quickly. For accountants and finance managers who fall into this category, Holborn is the ideal spot. The reason: location. Not only is the Central London postcode teaming with big financial institutions – Goldman Sachs and Deloitte both have head offices there – it also boasts a wealth of internationally renowned law firms and consulting outfits, from Macfarlanes to Bain & Company, which naturally form part of most finance workers’ extended professional circle.
Coupled with these professional advantages, Holborn represents a strong investment opportunity. Figures from CBRE show that average residential values there have increased by an impressive 64.6% over the last five years. This surge has been driven largely by a professional services boom that has taken place since 2000, causing many partner-level professionals to relocate to the area and big corporates to buying up residential units as lets for their international workers. Therefore, the demand for luxury property in this part of London is huge and a choice mews home could command an impressive rent and see its value rise more sharply than its counterparts elsewhere in the capital.
That there are hardly any viable properties of this kind in Holborn is perhaps pertinent and Pinks Mews is by far the area’s finest example. Our luxury development is nestled in a private walkway off High Holborn and equipped with all the latest mod-cons, it ticks all the boxes of a perfect mews, while offering elegant pied-a-terre-style living. It is also newly-developed, so does not come with the maintenance and refurb issues some traditional homes have.
Pinks is an apt symbol of the rebirth of Holborn and the establishment of mews properties as great places to live and invest in – something accountants and their counterparts would do well to factor in their financial planning.