First published on spearswms.com, I’m quite proud of this story: it’s been picked up by national and international media, from the FT and the Daily Mail to ITV and CNBC. It’s an unexpected situation, which has evoked, I suspect, a good dose of Schadenfreude.
When you hear a house has been repossessed, London’s most expensive luxury development isn’t the first place you’d think of. But a £5.25 million flat in One Hyde Park, Candy & Candy‘s flagship Knightsbridge development, where apartments have sold for up to £140 million, is being offered for sale by receivers.
The flat, being sold through Strutt & Parker as ‘entry-level’, is 988 sq ft, has one bedroom and is on the fourth floor of the development, which sits opposite Harvey Nichols and Burberry. The owner gets ‘bespoke services and amenities’, including a 24-hour concierge, provided by the adjacent Mandarin Oriental Hotel. They also have access to a private spa, squash court and mini-cinema.
Strutt & Parker told London’s prime property agents, ‘We are now appointed by the Receivers to find a buyer quickly for the property and hope that one of your buyers may benefit from being able to move quickly?’
Peter Wetherell, known as the king of Mayfair’s property scene, said repossessions are rare but can happen when the owner’s business plans go wrong: ‘Most of the properties at the top end of the market are cash deals, but for their own personal financing reasons [owners] will gear it up [ie take out a mortgage on it].’ If their business flags or circumstances change and they fail to make repayments on the mortgage, the home – like for anyone else – can be repossessed.
‘It’s one of the smaller units,’ said Wetherell, ‘but I know people who bought smaller units hoping that once the larger ones were sold people would want bigger flats and would make an offer.’ If he sees repossessions, he added, they are in the £300,000-1.5 million bracket.
Some agents see this as not just a failure for the owner but for Candy & Candy too, as the price of around £6,000 per square foot is what it first sold for.
‘It has now been categorically proven that One Hyde Park was the worst property investment in London,’ said Tracy Kellett of BDI Home Finders. ‘Many prime London properties have gained a good 50 per cent since 2007, One Hyde Park has seen no uplift from its launch at £6,000 per square foot – it’s rather sour-tasting Candy.’
But Peter Wetherell thinks this is unfair: ‘One Hyde Park is an example of the building everyone loves to hate. Everything you hear about it is knocking copy, but at the end of the day it redefined the word “luxury” in Central London property and it’s been a resounding success story.’