Mayfair owners put property assets under lock and key

Mayfair London
Mayfair London
Mayfair London
Mayfair London

A major shift in property ownership trends over the past decade means 71% of the 251 buildings over 20,000 square feet in Mayfair are “locked away” and unlikely to come onto the market for the foreseeable future, according to an independent commercial property adviser.

A study by multinational firm Bilfinger GVA concludes that the freehold of just 3.7 million square feet of commercial space will become available in the next decade. The analysis adds that the remaining 160 buildings will be locked away as long-term assets.

Justin James, head of West End Investment at Bilfinger GVA, comments: “Our research reveals a major shift in ownership trends in Mayfair and St James’s over the past decade. Due to the nature of ownership in this very unique market, the majority of freehold tenure is still under the control of the landed estates, which own 120 of the 251 buildings.”

The top five landlords are The Crown Estate — which runs the Queen’s property empire —Grosvenor, Berkeley Square Estate, Sateria Investments and The Pollen Estate, which between them hold 57% of the freehold market.

The Middle East makes up the largest source of overseas investment with 15% of the freehold market in Mayfair and St James’s, followed by Europe with 12%, North American investors with 4% and the Far East with 3%.

GVA added that £17.7bn had been spent on property assets in Mayfair and St James’s over the last decade but concluded: “Most will hold on to properties for generations, attracted to secure income, rising rents and redevelopment potential.”