The never-ending story of London’s poshest precincts

I like estate agents but some are brazen when it comes to expanding smart-sounding areas of the capital

I’ve always fancied doing a stand-up comedy turn so here goes – when is an apple not an apple? When it’s a crab apple. OK – when is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.

No? How about this then – when is an unmodernised property desirable? When it’s in a prime central London location. Yes, things are beginning to rock down Chelsea way. I kid you not, at the top end of the market the condition of properties in the area is now jolly close to irrelevant.

I am currently involved in the modernised three or four years ago.

The property has a decent enough kitchen featuring plenty of granite along with a range of fiddly bits made by a German firm with an unpronounceable name.

The bathrooms are Swedish – which certainly impresses me – and best of all the floors are covered with American hardwood.

Without fear of contradiction I can tell you that the last Mrs White and the future Mrs White would both be satisfied by the fare on offer.

But not my client who, on purchasing the property immediately announced his decision to redevelop it completely for a cool £250,000.

I have clients who actually seek unmodernised properties and are prepared to pay over the odds for the privilege.

Like sending home owners to prison for defending their properties while their unfriendly neighbourhood burglars walk free, this seems like a world gone mad. But there it is.

An area about the size of Norway in west London is now referred to by estate agents as Little Venice

One completely unmodernised house I’ve seen recently is in the Maida Vale district of West London. To those of you unfamiliar with this area of the capital it is where, on a daily basis, a heinous crime is committed by every estate agent.

Those of you who read this column regularly will know that I usually support estate agents. Indeed, some are my friends who I speak to now and again. And hey, I even went out with one once but that was 30 years ago and yes, she was short-sighted.

But the crime I refer to is due to the presence of the Grand Union Canal (pictured) which, if you stand on a chair, you can just about glimpse from the third floor of a couple of houses in Maida Vale on a clear day.

But as a result of the vague proximity of the canal an area in west London the size of Norway is now regularly referred to by local estate agents as Little Venice.

I’ve looked at properties in Kilburn that have been described as being close to Little Venice, as have council flats in Bayswater.

It could be argued that I don’t know what I am talking about as I’ve never been to Venice but I’m prepared to wager it is not easily mistaken for Paddington Basin.

But you can fool all the people all the time. Pop goddess Madonna used to have a house by the canal before moving to Marylebone. Or should that be North Mayfair?

SIMON WHITE
DIRECTOR
LONDON’S CHARTERED SURVEYORS