Urban enthusiasts have been studying the qualities necessary to create the ideal residential community. Elements identified include plenty of open space, density and scale, convenient and well connected public transport links, a variety of land uses, a diverse population, a thriving economy, and rich in culture; all of which can be found in Mayfair, the number one neighbourhood in prime central London.
Mayfair has a long history, coming from a muddy patch of land in the mid-1680s. The neighbourhood was appropriately named following the annual May Fair relocating from Haymarket to the area due to the increasing number of guests, on approval by King James II. The event continued to grow in size, resulting in increased drinking and gambling and was, therefore, moved again in 1746 and finally settled at Shepherd Market, a charming little district where the fair still takes place each year.
After leaving the centre of town, residents in Mayfair took this opportunity to develop the neighbourhood into a thriving community. Led by the Grosvenor family, the wealthy locals began building elegant garden squares, including the now iconic Grosvenor Square, and attractive streets. The grand district of Mayfair soon became the go-to address of choice for London’s aristocracy and gained the attention of some of the most affluent people around the world. Providing first-class real estate and the best dining, retail, and entertainment the UK has to offer, it is unsurprising that hundreds of years later, the neighbourhood is still a world-class attraction for tourists, locals, and expats alike.
Local spend double that of tourists
Tourists flock to prime central London all year round, with the Luxury Quarter being a prime hotspot. Consisting of Bond Street and Regent Street, the Luxury Quarter presents over two-thirds of the top retail brands in the world, and it is continuously growing, currently spilling over into Dover Street and Albermarle Street. When shopping is complete, guests have 26 Michelin star restaurants to choose from for dinner, and with a total of 66 in London, that means Mayfair has some of the most exquisite dining experiences in the entire country. Finally, visitors can select from 3,800 five-star hotel rooms across the area to enjoy a luxury night stay.
Although often thought to be untrue, the local economy is hugely supported by its residents. Local estate agent, Wetherell, accumulated data from Dataloft, EGI, and Westminster City Council to create a report revealing that the local population actually spends twice the amount that tourists do across the Luxury Quarter and West End district. Resulting in a total £2.5 million contributed to the local economy each year from residents alone.
Boasting an economy in excess of £22 billion, the West End theatre district is one of the best in the world and hosts over 200 million visitors every year. Half of the revenue consists of income from restaurants, hotels, bars, and retailers alone.
As the allure of Mayfair continues to evolve, as does the typical resident profile. In the 1950’s the average resident was about 65 years old. However, over 60 percent of locals are currently under the age of 44. Home to over 2,000 millionaires and 42 nationalities, the community is getting younger, wealthier, and more diverse in culture; each of these aspects contributing to the ideal neighbourhood blueprint. As political and economic landscapes change worldwide, as do the affluent investors coming to the region, meaning Mayfair can always expect a changing and diverse population.
The biggest development of the century
Younger residents settling in the area are increasing demands for more state of the art features, luxury living, and flats. The number of apartments entering the real estate market has been rising over the past decade, while the number of houses is down. Any notable developments in the area have been limited to a small annual stipend of 30 units for the past twenty years or so, in an attempt to maintain the heritage and rich culture of the neighbourhood. However, Mayfair is now undergoing the most significant transformation it has experienced in over a century.
Over the next five years, the new developments hope to provide an additional ten percent of residential properties, increasing the current selection to 4,363. This expansion will also welcome a further 25 percent of the current population totalling 5,200 residents in Mayfair. There are already eleven projects in construction, which will supply 20 units and 21 in the pipeline with an expected completion date in 2022. The renowned garden squares, Hanover and Grosvenor, are also set to be restored to their former grace and appeal.
The past decade has seen house prices grow by 188 percent in Mayfair, despite the Global Financial Crisis and more recent political uncertainty shrouding the nation. This spectacular transformation aims to spread this success by increasing prices from not only W1K, the most expensive address in London, but to W1S and W1J too. Rising values in these three areas will ensure values are maintained across the area, and the continued growth and success will ensure Mayfair remains as the number one address in London.
By Letitiah Obiri Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media