Analysing the W1B area with particular focus on its main assets: Park Crescent and Portland Place – how does this small piece of Marylebone`s investment puzzle fare in the property market?!

Date Published 26 September 2016

Often in life the little things can pass us by, and in property investment the same can be said about small areas or petite perimeters within larger neighbourhoods; the W1B postcode within our beloved Marylebone is certainly an area which is regularly overlooked during discussions about the property market. However, recently I have seen interest grow in this area with a number of key properties entering the market and some particularly solid deals oscillating around this perimeter; after all, for a neighbourhood to gain attention there has to be some exciting properties to lure us in! Moreover, I, myself have specifically been contacted by a client of my own, who has already acquired a selective list of Marylebone properties – and by this, I mean his property choices are not only backed up by great investment deals with lucrative financial data supporting it, he also has a taste for properties or neighbourhoods with a character and ones which intrigue him. He called me asking if I could help him satisfy his investment cravings once more and propose something different to the residences and specific districts that he has already inputted his capital within; after a few starter suggestions, the W1B postcode came to mind and this was the thought-clincher – he was completely set upon the idea! So where is the W1B area, and what does it offer us? Well this prestigious, and highly exclusive vertical stretch of land runs southwards in the west end of Marylebone all the way down until the mid-section of Mayfair and closely borders the Fitzrovia quarters. Focussing on the Marylebone half of W1B, there are a handful of popular streets that are encompassed here including: Duchess Street, All Soul's Place and part of Regent's Street; but the two key assets here (and the one's we will be spotlighting in this article) are Portland Place and Park Crescent. Starting off with Portland Place (W1B), this commanding and elongated building extraordinaire has a perfect balance between a stunning and traditional, Edwardian building design, whilst implementing a highly-desired and contemporary interior amongst its homes. The street which shares the same name, is unusually wide for Central London and attributes this site a bit of character and an additional element of intrigue. It was laid out by the Adams brothers for the Duke of Portland in the late 18th Century, and to this day still contains many of the spacious Georgian terraced houses built by the duo and co. Should you step outside any of the developments' highly sophisticated flats, you will notice a convenient range of transport services including Regent's Park Station, as well as Great Portland Street Station situated on the top stretch of the development, and Oxford Street Station is also well positioned on the bottom side of the neighbourhood. The finances surrounding this area at the moment currently show us a property value range of: £543,000 - £723,000 for 1 bedrooms, and for 2 bedroom homes this stretches out to a much wider £750,000 - £1,366,000. As for Park Crescent (W1B), this prestigious development designed by John Nash was acquired from 'The Great Capital Partnership' - through a joint venture between 'Great Portland Estates Plc' and 'Capco Plc' for a lucrative figure of £47 million - many of the buildings were converted from offices to lateral luxury homes and presented to the property market in early 2015. As well as displaying a truly unique architecture, this iconic site enjoys an unparalleled location with the gorgeous Regent's Park to the north - featuring its unique boating lake, open air theatre and music entertainment. Furthermore, the neighbourhood here enables access to its residents of about 8 acres of exclusive, private gardens - Park Crescent and Park Square gardens; one can rest assured of a unique and luxurious lifestyle, with these magnificent gardens offering a lawn tennis court, a children's play area and a foot tunnel connecting the two stunning green areas. Revolving the property prices here, you are likely to find 1 bedroom flats oscillating from £555,000 - £845,000, whilst 2 bedroom properties display an expected price range of £856,000 - £1,298,000. So back to our investor and to the research I presented to him, regarding the investment prospects of W1B's Portland Place and Park Crescent – which neighbourhood shall reign supreme?! In order to carry out a fair comparison between the two sites, I used 1 and 2 bedroom properties as my models for each area and outlined the same investment variables that I used not only to analyse them individually, but also to compare them against one another. I analysed the average values of 1 and 2 bedroom properties within both these perimeters, along with the average rental prices that we should expect in both Park Crescent and Portland Place; I also checked the potential rental yields that can be achieved here following a successful investment, as well as the capital growth levels portrayed in the last 10 years at both locations.

Property Investment in the W1B perimeter:

Park Crescent (W1B 1PE, W1B 1PD):

1 bedroom properties: Average Property Value: £675,450 - Average Rental Value: £1,900 (pcm) – Predicted Rental Yield= 3.37% - Average Purchase Price in 2006: £298,000 - Capital Growth over the last 10 years (2006 – 2016) = 82%

2 bedroom Properties: Average Property Value: £1,019,300 - Average Rental Value: £2,900 (pcm) – Predicted Rental Yield= 3.41% - Average Purchase Price in 2006: £445,000 - Capital Growth over the last 10 years (2006 – 2016) = 83%

Portland Place (W1B 1NX, W1B 1QL, W1B 1QG, W1B 1NS):

1 bedroom properties: Average Property Value: £629,625 - Average Rental Value: £1,750 (pcm) – Predicted Rental Yield= 3.33% - Average Purchase Price in 2006: £280,000 - Capital Growth over the last 10 years (2006 – 2016) = 81%

2 bedroom Properties: Average Property Value: £974,592 - Average Rental Value: £2,750 (pcm) – Predicted Rental Yield= 3.38% - Average Purchase Price in 2006: £420,000 - Capital Growth over the last 10 years (2006 – 2016) = 84%

From our results, we can see that the W1B Marylebone sector in general does portray some very solid investment figures, with Park Crescent and Portland Place both demonstrating respectable buy-to-let prospects and optimistic investment returns. To begin with property values, if we bring together both Park Crescent and Portland Place, for 1 bedroom properties we get an average estimated value of around £652,537 for the Marylebone (W1B) area - which rises to £996,946 for 2 bedroom homes here. Property prices along Portland Place (W1B) are however slightly cheaper for both 1 and 2 bedrooms, and you will notice that Portland Place is on average £45,825 more expensive for 1 bedroom homes, but this height of cost narrows itself slightly with 2 bedroom abodes to £44,708. Swinging our attentions to the rental figures, we can deduce from our findings that rental prices are very similar between the two areas, with only around £150 separating the two neighbourhoods from one another - for both the smaller 1 bedrooms and the larger two bedroom properties. Nonetheless, potential income is what we're concerned about and money adds up especially over time, so Park Crescent definitely gets the nod over its rivals Portland Place for its higher rental prices - even if they do look minimal on the surface. Sometimes with property investment an area could portray particularly optimistic rental prices and actually deceive buy-to-let potential investors as at times property prices are so much higher in the area, so it will take a much longer period to gain a return on the capital inputted into the venture and thus a smaller predicted rental yield should be expected. However, it will please you to know that this negative externality certainly doesn't apply here with Park Crescent, as along with its more commendable rental values, it's expected rental yields also exceed its competitor's. Park Crescent anticipates a rental yield in the region of 3.37% for 1 bedrooms in comparison to Portland Place's 3.33%, and this trend continues with their 2 bedroom residences where an annual return equates to around 3.41%, once again beating Portland Place's 3.38%. Reaching our final point of analysis, regarding the capital growth rates of Marylebone (W1B) as a whole (during the last 10 years), I can reveal to you a positive reading of 81.5% for 1 bedroom properties, and an improved growth of 83.5% for 2 bedroom homes here. As for the competition between these two areas, the results are slightly varied here, with Park Crescent (W1B) expressing a slightly better performance in regards to its 1 bedroom properties, with a reading of 82% during the last 10 years - in comparison to Portland Place's 81%.Conversely, Portland Place exceeds its rival in relation to 2 bedroom abodes, with a reading of 84% - bettering Park Crescent's 83% minimally. To conclude, we can see that although the two areas are very closely matched in most areas with a narrow gap of finances separating them, Park Crescent does enjoy a slightly better all-round investment outlook, with it performing better in relation to rental prices and rental yields - which after all is what us buy-to-let investors should be looking most closely at. The capital growth results lands at a draw between our two competitors, whilst Portland Place does display a more cost-effective nature with both the prices of its 1 and 2 bedroom properties - and thus gains the upper hand in this department.

To wrap up, I'd like to remind you all that I am more than happy to be of any direct help, and I am available for contract by email, phone and through my Facebook page: The Marylebone Property Blog. W1B, although a traditional and highly-esteemed site, it does however lack a grand portfolio of information and study around its investment prospects – especially in comparison to Marylebone's big 4 post codes: W1G, W1H, W1U and NW1. Thus, if you are looking at any properties at the moment or plan to in the near future, you may find it slightly trickier to understand the prices, rental ranges, square footage measurements, or even the capital growth rates circling here; as a result, you certainly shouldn't hesitate to ask for some assistance – it can make all the difference!