With a huge amount of global wealth expected to be passed down from ageing baby boomers to their millennial heirs, the prime property market is certainly experiencing the effects of this generational wealth transfer, with new developments catering to youthful UHNWs more than ever before.
Notably, neighbourhoods previously snubbed by the older generation, such as Marylebone, are now becoming highly sought after. Traditional portered period buildings which exude subtle elegance and grandeur, such as on Portland Place and Eaton Square, are becoming second choice to glitzy new build developments which offer unparalleled services focused on lifestyle.
The UHNW millennial wish list
There is a huge demand for immediacy, with the millennial elite seeking beautiful turnkey properties, rather than being caught up in a lengthy refurbishment project with the potential for supply chain delays. I believe lockdown has played a large part in this mindset shift, with these buyers not wanting to waste any more time and the view that time is money. The younger generation are also more focused on health, lifestyle and entertaining, and place an emphasis on convenience and self-sufficiency.
Consequently, the demand for hotel-style amenities which offer a world-class luxury lifestyle is higher than ever. Such amenities include a state-of-the-art-gym, cinema room, swimming pool with spa facilities, business suite and wine room. Residents’ lounges are more personalised nowadays, often including a pool / snooker table, backgammon and chess boards, kids’ playroom and a library with numerous international daily newspapers.
Secure parking is also highly in demand, with hefty premiums paid per space, and typically with a valet parking service. Schemes such as The Mansion in Marylebone offer an exclusive chauffeur service to residents, and 24-hour concierge and security is now expected as standard.
Having the latest tech is a must amongst the inheriting millennial elite, with the option to control your heating, lighting, music, curtains and in some cases ovens from your phone or iPad, from anywhere in the world. Security systems are also becoming increasingly advanced, with fingerprint enabled door locks and automated security shutters which can lock down an entire house in less than one minute - one client of ours even had a bomb proof letterbox. This new generation are also more conscious of sustainability credentials, as climate change will impact them and their children’s generations more than that of their parents.
Wealth transfer and the new titans of London prime property
In recent years many new schemes have emerged in Mayfair, such as 20 Grosvenor Square, developed by Finchatton and serviced by The Four Seasons, and 1 Grosvenor Square, developed by Lodha and serviced by its in-house company, St Amand. These two developments in particular have set a new standard of luxury living in this already prestigious neighbourhood.
Bayswater is another location where alluring new developments are being built, with over £3 billion reported to have been injected into the area. Examples of these include Park Modern, developed by Fenton Whelan and offering spectacular south facing views across Hyde Park, and The Whiteley, developed by Finchatton and serviced by Six Senses.
The demand for super prime properties in the lead up to Christmas was incredibly strong. We have facilitated over £125 million worth of sales since that period. This is the highest value I have seen in 19 years of my career, as normally the market is subdued during this time. I expect this demand to continue into 2024: there will likely be a two-tier market as the election approaches, with debt-dependent UK buyers becoming more reserved, whereas global demand for prime and super prime properties will show no sign of softening.
Claire Reynolds is managing director for UK Sotheby's International Realty