With Strictly, The X Factor and The Apprentice all currently gracing our screens, there is no shortage of reality TV talent contests to keep us all entertained as winter approaches.
In the case of two of the above shows, contestants are put up in a luxury house while the on-screen competition plays out every week in living rooms up and down the country. So, whether it’s boardroom squabbles, egos being trounced and Lord Sugar training his firing finger on the weakest candidate in The Apprentice, or the drama, controversy, colourful costumes, loud neon lights and sob stories on the X Factor live shows, there is set to be plenty for Twitter to get its teeth into over the coming months.
What, though, do those houses look like this year? They change each series, but always seem to be grander, more decadent and opulent as the years go by.
For The Apprentice candidates, this year they can relax from those long days haring aimlessly around London, messing up presentations and haggling badly with traders by kicking back in a six-bedroom property in trendy, well-heeled Hampstead.
The plush, four storey £12 million home, located in one of leafy Hampstead’s most desirable streets, has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and five spacious reception rooms for the candidates to have some downtime between the demanding, draining tasks.
Officially on the market with Zoopla for £11,950,000, the swanky home is also available to rent – but, as expected, it would set prospective tenants back a fair bit, with monthly rental costs of £38,783 (or £8,950 per week!)
While Hampstead is undeniably one of London’s most sought-after and exclusive neighbourhoods, property prices have actually witnessed a slight fall in the last 12 months. The average home here has dropped in value by 0.82% (£12,760), according to Zoopla.
This year's Apprentice home may effortlessly mix modern and classic décor, but the house being lived in by this year’s X Factor contestants is defiantly contemporary. Simon Cowell has put this year’s chart hopefuls up in a six bedroom property in Hadley Wood, a fashionable and up-and-coming neighbourhood in a leafy part of North London.
The home, which also boasts four bathrooms and a huge back garden, was listed for rent on Zoopla in January for nearly £13,500 a month. The property’s current price, meanwhile, is estimated to be around £3.6 million – unsurprising, perhaps, when you consider the rising popularity of Hadley Wood, where property prices have increased by 4.87% (£31,178) over the last year.
The property, situated on Camlet Way, will be home to the X Factor wannabees over the next few months as the competition hots up and the tension ratchets up a notch. As they live like stars, they will also be able to live like stars.
Not, however, in quite as much luxury as last year’s contestants. It might be down to the falling ratings, the show’s waning influence or the fact that Simon Cowell is feeling a bit stingy this year, but the Hadley Wood home isn’t quite as glitzy and glamorous as last year’s offering, which Zoopla estimates is currently worth close to £9m. It also boasted a state-of-the-art car lift, an indoor pool and a cinema room.
Still, a home that fetches more than £13,000 a month in rent and has a house price value of more than £3 million isn’t exactly at the lower end of the market – it’s just not quite as luxury as last year’s property.
While Hampstead is well-known to most, many people might not have heard of Hadley Wood before. That, however, looks set to change over the coming years. This year’s crop of X Factor contestants residing there will only help to increase its standing.