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The grockles of K&C

The grockles of K&C - Second homes - Kensington & Chelsea - Arabs, Chinese and Russians

Survey of locations with the highest percentage of second homes gives indication as to why so many long-established businesses are closing down in Kensington and Chelsea; in some streets in the borough second home ownership now accounts for 70% of all properties there


It’s no wonder so many businesses are closing in Kensington and Chelsea given a recent government survey has revealed that nearly one in ten properties in the borough are now second homes.


You are now more likely to see a super car driven by an Arab or Russian in Sloane Street than a Dowager Duchess


Third only to the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall, and the City of London itself – the results for both of which are skewed by the fact that they have relatively small populations anyway – Kensington and Chelsea is described as having the “highest proportion of second homes of any densely-populated area in England” and most tellingly, it is the list of the streets with the most second homes that makes for utterly fascinating reading.


The top five are as follows:


  1. Ashburn Place, SW7 – 92 second homes out of a total of 131 properties (70.2% second homes).


  1. Sloane Avenue, SW3 – 569 second homes out of a total 1,519 properties (37.5% second homes).


  1. Stanhope Gardens, SW7 – 96 second homes out of a total of 453 properties (21.2% second homes).


  1. Sloane Street, SW1 – 108 second homes out of a total of 596 properties (18.1% second homes).


  1. Kensington High Street – 123 second homes out of a total of 824 properties (18.1% second homes).


Previously, in February 2014, we featured a quote from an Evening Standard article about the area that stated: “Just walk around the back streets of Knightsbridge or Kensington at night; the lights aren’t on and no one’s home”. Given this is now fact, it’s no wonder that previously successful established restaurants are closing and being converted into shisha friendly cafés – as has occurred at four sites on Brompton Road, for example, within the last year alone – and it’s no wonder that longstanding residents are cashing in and moving out to places that actually have facilities that appeal to permanent residents and are making way for grockles or second home owners.


A small one-bedroom apartment the size of a shoebox is currently for sale for £649,950 in Nell Gwynn House in Sloane Avenue, SW3 – It’s no wonder it can only be afforded by those in the market for a second home
Picture perfect Salisbury Hall at Newton-in-Bowland in Lancashire is for sale for the same price
Meanwhile, Barholm Castle at Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland is on offer for £695,000 and comes with 2.75 acres of land and spectacular views over Wigtown Bay


A simple search reveals that the asking price for a tiny 313 square foot, 1-bedroom apartment in Sloane Avenue’s Nell Gwynn House is currently £649,950 or £2,077 per square foot. For the same price, one could buy a 3,058 square foot Grade II listed hall in the Hodder Valley in Lancashire or a 15th century castle in Scotland for just £695,000. It’s no wonder that more and more lights are turning off in K&C, but truly it’s a sad thing and if the character that makes the borough so appealing is to be retained, something really must be done to encourage long-term residents to return.



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