TROPHY ROADS VS. DISCREET ROADS

ON WHICH TYPE OF ROAD DO LONDON’S SUPER-RICH PREFER TO LIVE?

Some buyers choose wide high profile ‘trophy roads’, lined with trees and large houses, whilst others prefer a home in a ‘discreet road’, a low profile cul-de-sac or a quiet side-street, but which offers purchasers better value? These issues have been reviewed by leading ultra-prime estate agent Aston Chase who have also identified the most sought after ‘trophy roads’ and ‘discreet roads’ in London’s smart St John’s Wood neighbourhood.

Aston Chase define a ‘trophy road’ as a wide, typically tree lined road, which is bordered by large visually striking houses and mansions, with the appeal of the address enhanced by its prestigious history and notable past residents. Examples include Avenue Road, The Bishop’s Avenue and Kensington Palace Gardens. Aston Chase define a ‘discreet road’ as either a cul-de-sac (a road with only one inlet or outlet) or a side street, with far more low-profile, often low-rise homes or ones set back from the street behind walled gardens.

Aston Chase highlight that the most notable ‘trophy roads’ in St John’s Wood are Avenue Road, Acacia Road, Hamilton Terrace, Elsworthy Road and Queens Grove. Aston Chase note that it is no coincidence all these high profile addresses either have their own Wikipedia profile on the internet or are reviewed extensively on history or local area websites because of their local renown. Avenue Road and Hamilton Terrace in particular, two of the most famous addresses in Inner London, have numerous website listings dedicated to their history, past owners and the properties.

Aston Chase say that the most sought after ‘discreet roads’ in St John’s Wood are Cavendish Avenue, Melina Place, The Lane (off Marlborough Place), Wadham Gardens, Cavendish Close, Elm Tree Road, Eyre Road and Norfolk Road. Of these, only Cavendish Avenue has its own dedicated Wikipedia profile and this and other on-line listings emphasise the understated nature of the Avenue as having “elegant Regency style homes discreetly hidden behind tall entrance gates”.

Aston Chase believe that neither type of address is superior to the other. They simply tend to appeal to distinctly different kinds of buyers who tend to have particular objectives in choosing either a high profile or quiet address as their home.

Aston Chase highlight that the first things that help determine whether a buyer chooses a ‘trophy’ or ‘discreet’ road is the size of house they are looking for, and their budget. On the discreet roads, the houses are typically 4-8,000 sqft in size whilst on the ‘trophy roads’ such as Avenue Road, the houses are up to 30,000 sqft in size, on plots of 0.25 up to over one acre in size.

Given the differences in house and plot size, a house on a St John’s Wood ‘discreet road’ requires a budget of up to £10 million, whilst a house on one of the ‘trophy roads’ requires an investment of up to £20 million, with up to £100 million required for the largest palatial houses on Avenue Road.

Aston Chase say that buyers on the ‘discreet roads’ typically go out of their way to be low-profile and avoid publicity. In contrast, some of the buyers on the ‘trophy roads’ are flamboyant by nature and choose to live on a thoroughfare such as Avenue Road or Hamilton Terrace as a display of their business and financial success.

Mark Pollack, co-Founding Director of Aston Chase says: “St John’s Wood has some of the most important ‘trophy roads’ in Inner London, lined with large houses and mega-mansions. Avenue Road and Hamilton Terrace in particular are now graced by some of the largest and most luxurious homes in the capital. There is often as much below ground as above in some of the ‘iceberg’ mansions. But this it not for everyone, and just as some of our clients will only want a home on Avenue Road, there are many clients who choose to live on a ‘discreet road’ such as Cavendish Avenue, Melina Place or Wadham Gardens. It is often a matter of personal needs and lifestyle choice.”

Aston Chase calculate that Avenue Road in particular must now be one of the most valuable streets in London – ranking favourably against other elite roads such as Kensington Palace Gardens, The Boltons and Holland Park. Over the last three years over 12 new mansions have been built along Avenue Road, which have a combined market value approaching £500 million. Ultra-high-net-worth buyers have purchased existing houses on Avenue Road, ranging from 5-8,000 sqft in size, and replaced them with brand new mega-mansions typically 10-30,000 sqft in size.