One of London’s best known and well respected agents has given insights into how he believes his own prime patch of the capital may change, post-Covid.
Peter Wetherell, whose Wetherell agency has been synonymous with Mayfair property for decades, says there are parallels between what may become known as the post-Covid era and the 1920s, following World War One and the Spanish Flu pandemic.
The effects of the Spanish Flu led to the demolition or conversion of the old great houses of Mayfair aristocrats and plutocrats, thus creating the conditions for the kinds of property that now epitomise the district.
Wetherell does not forecast a disruption of that kind as a result of Covid, but he says this current era could be seen as a rupture, marking the start of a New Mayfair of the 21st century, with a building boom that is already in full swing.
Trends in favour of working from home will accelerate the move from opulent offices to luxuriously redeveloped residential properties, he suggests, heralding a similar post-lockdown boom to that seen a century earlier.
“Whilst we will not return to the same as before Covid, Mayfair has shown its resilience and its remarkable ability to change, to adapt and weather the storms of the past 300 years” explains agency founder and chairman Peter Wetherell.
“I am certain that there will be a huge bounce in the coming months and years, just as there was in the 1920s as recovery from wartime devastation created a boom in construction and consumer goods.
“Prime Central London will drive the recovery across the whole of the UK and as the figures from recent months show Mayfair will be leading the way. We now appreciate what we have missed and possibly had previously taken for granted and our future Mayfair will be, maybe, a different Mayfair but it is up to all to make it a better Mayfair.”
In terms of nitty gritty housing market stats, Wetherell says in 2020 the sales average in terms of £/psf in Mayfair was £1,887 for a one bedroom flat, compared to £1,372 in the rest of Prime Central London.
This is a gap that is increasing according to the agency. Average values for two-bedroom flats in Mayfair are now £2,194 psf compared to £1,977 in 2019. In the rest of PCL they have fallen from £1,488 to £1,446 in that time.
Some 55 per cent of sales in Mayfair in 2020 achieved a rate of £2,000 pdf or higher compared to only 19 per cent achieving that target in the rest of PCL. This is a rise from 51 per cent in Mayfair at the start of 2020, and 18 per cent in the rest of PCL.