While house prices across the UK are shifting dramatically up and down during this turbulent year, some streets always command a price tag that stays up in the stratosphere. Staying highest of the high for 12 years on end is Kensington Palace Gardens, London’s most expensive street.
Put in Perspective – Kensington Palace Gardens vs other London streets
With a current house price average of £35 million and change, Kensington Palace Gardens is strictly a mega-rich buyer’s prospect. Even for London housing prices, this a seriously daunting starting position. However, if you happen to be a global business tycoon or actual royalty then you’ll barely need to haggle!
For some perspective, Kensington Palace Gardens property is 68% more expensive to buy than London’s closest competing street. Courtenay Avenue will only set you back £21 million on average, which suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Looking at the rest of our capital’s top 5 most expensive streets, Kensington Palace Gardens is well beyond the curve.
Average property prices of London’s most expensive streets (December 2020)
- Kensington Palace Gardens W8 – £35,300,088
- Courtenay Avenue N6 – £21,009,674
- Grosvenor Crescent SW1X – £19,675,058
- Ilchester Place W14 – £16,160,387
- Manresa Road, London SW3 – £12,625,469
Who lives where in Kensington Palace Gardens?
While the properties along this storied and famously pricey street are uniformly gorgeous, they broadly fall into three categories – royal residences, diplomatic embassies and the not-so-humble homes of the fabulously wealthy.
It’s partly for this reason that Kensington Palace Gardens has remained top of the average price list for so long. As certain streets attract a reputation for being desired by the rich and famous, this reputation fuels future price hikes. Just being on ‘the street’ with neighbours like these is a status symbol all of its own.
Combine this with the fact that such properties so rarely come onto the market, and you’ve got a street name adding millions to the asking price. This isn’t a new phenomenon, Kensington Palace Garden was known as ‘Millionaire’s Row’ all the way back in 1860. Over the last 160 years, the millionaires have become billionaires as the allure of the street has steadily grown.
Kensington Palace: Next-Generation Royalty
London’s most expensive street runs along Kensington Gardens between Notting Hill and Kensington, but the palace itself provides its name. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge currently call the palace their home, as do Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children make do with an impressive 20 rooms spread over four storeys. However, their official address is a rather underwhelming “Apartment 1A”.
The Princess Eugenie and her family (she’s expecting in 2021) live within the palace grounds at Ivy Cottage. If you’re thinking of a quiet little thatched number, think again. While smallish at only three bedrooms, Ivy Cottage is still a sumptuously decorated and extensively renovated affair.
The couple will soon end their time at Ivy Cottage. They will make the move next year to Frogmore Cottage – previously used as Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s Windsor digs.
Embassies and Ambassadorial Residences in Kensington Palace Gardens
Boasting an impressive eight embassies and ambassadorial residences, Kensington Palace Gardens is something of a diplomatic magnet. And why not? If your intention is to impress your own citizens and visiting dignitaries, then a grand building on London’s most expensive street can certainly have that effect.
- Israeli Embassy – Number 2
- Russian Embassy – Number 5-7
- French Embassy – Number 11
- Nepalese Embassy – Number 12a
- Russian Ambassador Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko’s residence – Number 13
- Finnish Ambassador Markku Keinänen’s residence – Number 14
- Lebanese Embassy – Number 21
- Japanese Embassy residence – Number 23
These buildings range across the architectural styles of London’s history, though tasteful reserve is the unifying theme. Beautiful cream stuccos, gleaming black railings and millimetre-perfect privet hedges welcome visitors with a sense of undisturbed grace and decorum. Naturally, this is exactly what you want to feel when going to get a visa stamped.
Millionaires and Billionaires in Kensington Palace Gardens
Alongside their royal and diplomatic neighbours, the business tycoons and celebrities add a little colour and lots more money to the street. They come from a highly diverse set of different backgrounds, from Russian oligarchs to English socialites, though they all boast property portfolios to die for.
One major advantage that the street’s residents can enjoy is the added safety it offers. Such a concentration of royal, diplomatic and wealthy private individuals are protected by a wide range of security measures. Both ends of the street have security checkpoints manned by armed guards, while crash barriers, sniffer dog teams, CCTV and other electronic surveillance technologies cover the entirety of the street.
Tamara Ecclestone – Number 8 (Estimated property value: £70 million)
Daughter of Formula 1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone, Tamara is an art-lover, model and social media personality. Her Kensington Palace Gardens mansion offers 57 rooms of wall-to-wall luxury including quirky features such as a gold free-standing bathtub, a room dedicated purely to designer handbags and a £10,000 miniature replica of the mansion which serves as a playhouse for her daughter Sophia.
Jon Hunt – Number 10 (Estimated property value: £120 million)
Jon Hunt founded Foxtons and sold off the major estate agency for £390 million at the height of the housing boom in 2017. Two years previously he bought number 10 Kensington Palace Gardens for just £14 million.
Almost immediately, he launched into building a vast underground complex for his car collection, plus a swimming pool and tennis court. Despite a gruelling 10-year legal battle and repeated complaints from his neighbours at the French Embassy, he successfully finished it.
The cost of expansion and renovations is thought to be in the tens of millions of pounds. If he decides to sell, Jon Hunt is likely to make a good return on his investment. In 2012, he was reportedly offered the fantastical sum of £300 million for the property by his neighbour, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.
Wang Jialin – Number 15a (Estimated property value: £110 million)
The £80 million asking price didn’t put a dent in the pocket of China’s then-richest man back in 2005. Since then, movie mogul Wang has extensively renovated his mid-Victorian era property, spending tens of millions expanding, restoring and updating this labour of love. From its massive column-lined indoor pool to its period feature inner courtyard, this mansion is as architecturally impressive from within as without.
Roman Abramovich – Number 17 (Estimated property value: £125 million)
A global businessman and politician with an estimated net worth of over £10 billion, Roman bought his Kensington Palace Gardens mansion in 2009 for a reputed £90 million. The 15-bedroom, cream-coloured mini palace wasn’t to Roman’s taste at purchase, so he continues to renovate it. The latest upgrades include widening the terrace, building a new skylit pool and expanding the underground complex with 4,000 extra square feet of living space.
Lakshmi Mittal – Number 18-19 (Estimated property value: £168 million)
When you amass an estimated fortune of over £7 billion, nicknames come thick and fast. Lakshmi Mittal made his fortune in steel and is often known as the ‘Carnegie of Calcutta’, after Andrew Carnegie the famously successful (and often ruthless) American steel baron.
Lakshmi moved his family to London in the mid-90s and bought his 55,000 square foot mansion from Bernie Ecclestone in 2004 for £57 million. Complete with swimming pool, 12 bedrooms and all the other obligatory fanciness, the house also features marble from the same quarry as that used for the Taj Mahal – this piece of trivia led to the house being known by Lakshmi’s intimates as the ‘Taj Mittal’.
After settling in, Lakshmi decided he liked the street so much that he bought another two houses on it. Number 9A was secured for a cool £117 million and another nearby property went for £70 million. These were gifted to his son and daughter respectively, giving the Mittal family quite the presence on London’s most expensive street.
The Sultan of Brunei – Number 20
Kensington Palace Gardens isn’t just home to English royalty; the Sultan of Brunei has kept this sumptuous mansion for over three decades. Although it was bought for an undisclosed sum, the price tag couldn’t have bothered the sultan overly, since his personal annual income was estimated at £1.5 billion. Adding to a personal fortune of over £30 billion, individuals of this level of wealth often have to try hard to spend it.
Buyers still looking for openings on London’s most expensive street
Technically, the Crown Estate owns all of the freehold on the entirety of Kensington Palace Gardens. This means that even its billionaire residents are leaseholders to royalty. This doesn’t seem to put off potential buyers though, with prices still going up.
Even though deals on these properties are made behind closed doors via very expensive go-betweens, the allure of Kensington Palace Gardens means that there’s no shortage of people willing to pay whatever it takes to be on London’s most expensive street.
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