Dow Jones: DJ A Little Venice For The Brits -- Mansion
Fri 13 Nov 2015
DJ A Little Venice For The Brits -- Mansion
(FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 11/13/15)
By Ruth Bloomfield
On Sunday mornings, Cafe Laville is busy with brunchers enjoying a view of narrow boats moored along atree-lined waterway. Amsterdam? Bruges? No, this is London's Little Venice, a neighborhood with picturesquecanals and handsome white-fronted townhouses and villas.
In a year when homeowners in prime central London have seen the values of their homes ebb 4.6%, according toreal-estate firm Savills, this enclave remains very much afloat. Little Venice, and the W9 ZIP Code in which itsits, have seen prices per square foot rise 9.9% in the past year, according to property analyst LonRes.Little Venice is a name reputably coined by Lord Byron, who once lived in the area. It sits amid an extensivecanal network dug in Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries. Boats pulled by horses would haul cargo from
London's docks to the rest of the country (as well as delivering goods for export to the British capital). Canalswere active commercial highways until the 1960s, when they were overtaken by trucks and trains, but they stillremain open for leisure craft and boat trips.
Unlike the wharves and warehouses that flank many of London's canals, the Regent's Canal is lined with finehomes. Currently on the market is a six-bedroom, 5,144-square-foot property on Warwick Avenue, priced at GBP11 million, or about $15.42 million; its future owner will get a private backyard and access to a shared communal
garden hidden behind the street, said Nick Crayson, managing director of Crayson estate agents.
Neil Barnes, sales manager at Hamptons International, said that on average, homes in the area sell for $1,400 to$1,700 a square foot. Homes overlooking the canal, and particularly on Blomfield Road, increase to around$2,800 a square foot. For perspective, homes in Knightsbridge, the most expensive section of prime centralLondon, can fetch $8,400 to $9,800 a square foot.
The neighborhood also has a large stock of two-bedroom apartments that typically sell for around $1.1 million to$1.8 million. Changes in the stamp duty at the end of 2014 -- an extra tax on the sale of homes above the GBP 2million mark (about $2.8 million) -- have made homes below that price point more marketable.For example, a buyer who pays about $5 million for a typical four-bedroom terraced house in W9 will spend anadditional $104,000 because of the stamp duty.
"It makes life a whole lot more difficult when you are trying to negotiate a sale because buyers are saying: "Whyshould we take the full hit?" said James Westendarp, a sales associate at Chestertons estate agents.
Neil Barnes, sales manager at Hamptons International, said that British buyers account for about a third of hissales, with overseas purchasers (particularly from Saudi Arabia, China and the Far East) making up theremainder. The area is also popular among North Americans living in London, because it is close to the AmericanSchool in St. John's Wood.
Tania McNally, director of a public-relations company, bought an apartment in Little Venice in June. "I can justwalk out of my door and get a coffee, and there are lots of lovely little shops and cafes, and I can go for a runalong the canal or cycle through Regent's Park to work," she said. "It is a unique little bubble, but it is also verycentral. It is quite international, which I like, but people actually live there. It has a really family vibe."
Little Venice is only a small enclave within a wider area. This neighborhood is named Maida Vale, and its largeperiod homes and large apartments are highly sought after.
Currently listed for $14 million is a 6,125-square-foot six- to seven-bedroom home with a large backyard with aheated outdoor pool.
Maida Vale is also known for its redbrick mansion blocks -- Victorian-era apartment buildings with grand frontagesand entrance lobbies, and large apartments. Hamptons International is currently listing a 1,413-square-foot,three-bedroom apartment in Cunningham Court for $2.8 million.
The area has convenient transportation links, with two London Underground stations. It is also within walkingdistance of Paddington Station, where in 2018 a new rail line with direct links to the West End of London and theCity, the main financial district, is scheduled to launch.
Own a Slice of London's Little Venice
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment
This apartment is within Ashworth Mansions in the desirable Maida Vale neighborhood. The property measures865 square feet and overlooks the building's communal gardens.
Agent: Hamptons International
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment
This apartment is located within a redbrick Victorian townhouse on Lanark Road. The apartment measures 1,052square feet and has a roof terrace with views across Maida Vale.
Agent: Marsh & Parsons
Four-bedroom, three-bathroom home
Located on Blomfield Road, the prime street in Little Venice, this Victorian Italianate property overlooks theRegent's Canal and measures 3,072 square feet.
Agent: Knight Frank