South Kensington Property: Old Brompton Road

London

South Kensington, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, has long been one of London’s most desirable areas. At its heart, stretching from South Kensington tube to West Brompton station, is the Old Brompton Road.

This famous street is well-known to West London’s well-to-do – it’s most notable resident was Princess Diana, who shared a flat here before moving into Clarence House. It’s that rare location where you can buy a piece of fine art – Christie’s has its headquarters here – or soak up the history in one of London’s most famous music venues (The Troubadour at no. 263-267 has played host to everyone from Bob Dylan to Adele.)

It’s also just off the Old Brompton Road that you’ll find a newly refurbished former hotel, now one of Phillips & Southern’s managed properties.

Executive Summary

What is it: 3 x 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom flats, and 1 x 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom upper maisonette in the heart of South Kensington.
What it cost: We bought the freehold in 2009 for £4,810,000 – just under £1,180 per square foot.
What we spent on it: The building had been decorated to a very high specification and didn’t require any further investment. We spent £27,000 furnishing three apartments and, a few years later, £70,000 to add a roof terrace.
What it's worth: In 2015 the freehold interest was valued at £8,300,000.
Rental income: Increasing steadily over the years, the gross income is now £197,380 per annum.
Profit: The equity employed after financing was £2,800,000, giving an estimated return on capital of 105.4 per cent over seven years or 15.05 per cent per annum.

What we did

We managed this project end-to-end for our client, who is based in Singapore.

Our client had advised us they were interested in buying a small, standalone property. We soon spotted a quality development project that had got into financial difficulty in South Kensington. We were able to negotiate a very advantageous deal for our client and take over the property with the building work finished.

We arranged for an interior designer to furnish some of the apartments, and also, at a later date, for a roof terrace to be built which further added value.

The flats have been almost continuously let since we bought the building. We continue to manage this property for our client.

Old Brompton Road

How we did it

December 2009

We knew our client was looking for a building to invest in, and we spotted one being developed just off Old Brompton Road in South Kensington. It wasn’t on the market, but it was clear the project was running into difficulties as the building works were falling behind schedule. We knew that a property in South Kensington would hold its value and saw an excellent opportunity for our client.

January 2010

The project’s mismanagement, combined with the general climate – the global economy was still sluggish after the 2008 financial crisis – meant that we were able to make a very advantageous cash deal for our client. Once we had agreed the deal contracts were exchanged within three weeks.

February 2010

The remaining building works were finished just three weeks later at no further cost to our client.

March 2010

The flats were decorated to a very high standard, and so we recognized we had to furnish the flats to a similar standard to allow them to achieve their full potential. We advised keeping the top maisonette unfurnished. All of the flats were let within four weeks of completion of the building works.

April 2010

We received an unsolicited offer of £6,000,000 for the building. However since our client was not interested in selling, we negotiated a loan of 50 per cent of the purchase price for him instead. [nb this offer was within 3 months of completion]

May 2013

We saw an opportunity to dramatically increase the value of the building, and the upper masionette in particular, by building a roof terrace. This work was carried out when the tenant of the top flat vacated the property and took 13 weeks. It cost £70,000 and added a further £150,000 in value to the upper maisonette.

Results

Our knowledge of the London property market meant we were in the perfect position to spot the right opportunity for our client – even before it had come on the market.

The flats themselves have continued to be very popular thanks to their fantastic location and beautiful furnishings. Over the last seven years they have enjoyed an average 85 per cent occupancy rate – which includes the 13-week period the upper maisonette was not let to allow us to install a roof terrace – and the property’s rental income has continued to rise.

2009
Investment: (£4.81m + 27k furnishing + 70k roof terrace)
£4.9m
Total Investment
2016
Apartment Worth: £8,300,000
105.4%
Profit: (return on capital over 7 years)
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