Property and the Royal Wedding

Property and the Royal Wedding

Online estate agent Tepilo offers its take on the upcoming Royal Wedding by taking a look at the global locations associated with the couple.

The Royal Wedding, which will bring worldwide attention to the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on Saturday 19 May.

The service begins at midday and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows. Some 2,640 members of the public have been invited to the ceremony to share in the occasion.  

Following the service, at 1pm, the newly married couple will travel around Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage, giving members of the public the chance to see them in the flesh and join in their matrimonial celebrations.

To give a property spin to this key date in the diary, we’ve taken a look at the housing markets in some of the areas the bride and groom-to-be have a close connection to.

Windsor

Iconic thanks to its castle (the oldest and longest occupied in the world), its Great Park, its Thames-side location and its Legoland Resort theme park, Windsor also has an instant association with the royals.

The Queen spends most of her weekends there, the tourists flock in their droves to see the changing of the guard and buy up questionable royal merchandise (plates with Harry and Meghan’s faces on, anyone?), and, of course, the latest royal wedding itself takes place there.

From a property point of view, the average price here is around £550,000, slightly above nearby Old Windsor (£545,000) and comfortably ahead of Eton and Eton Wick. Most properties are terraced homes, with an average sold price of just over £580,000, according to Rightmove, while flats and semi-detached properties are also popular.

The property website also calculates that sold prices in Windsor rose 3% in the last year and are up by 11% on 2015.

Los Angeles

Markle, the 36 year old actress and humanitarian best known for her role in American legal drama Suits, was born and raised in Los Angeles – the second biggest city in the United States and the beating heart of California. Home to Hollywood, Venice Beach and the Vincent Thomas Bridge, it is an important cultural, financial, commercial and entertainment centre – and a major tourist destination.

But what of property there? Southern California – the six-county region home to Los Angeles County – saw its median house price grow by over 8% in March 2018 on the year before, setting a new all-time high. Hopeful buyers engaging in bidding wars for the limited supply of homes – the supply-side crisis is certainly not exclusive to Britain – has driven this growth.

Southern California’s median price for new and resale houses and condos reached the $520,000 mark in March, up by around $40,000 from a year earlier, while in Los Angeles County the median price increased by over 6.5% to a record $585,000 – propelled by a mismatch between supply and demand.

Parts of Los Angeles are famed for their wealth and glamour, none more so than Malibu’s renowned Billionaire’s Beach (actual name Carbon Beach) – where the tag rather speaks for itself. And, to emphasise the point, an oceanfront property there recently sold for $110 million to natural gas billionaire Michael S. Smith.

Even for a place known for its lavish living and high-end sales – two homes sold for $100 million in 2016, including the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills – this latest sale was pretty stratospheric.

Eton

Famous the world over for its prestigious college (an independent boarding school for boys which Prince Harry attended from 1998-2003) and the pudding it gives its name to, Eton mess (a traditional English dessert combining strawberries, broken meringue and whipped double cream), Eton is a town in Berkshire a mere stone’s throw from Windsor, located on the other side of the River Thames.

As you might expect of a riverside location where parents spend more than £32,000 per academic year to send their children to Eton College, the average property price here is not cheap – but perhaps not as expensive as you might think, either. According to Rightmove, the current average price of a home in Eton is £480,000 – with house prices down by more than 30% on the year before and 23% down on 2008 when they were averaging around £620,000.

In nearby Eton Wick, meanwhile, the current average price stands at just over £385,000 - 8% up on the previous year and 17% up on 2015. Terraced properties are the most popular type of home, while semi-detached abodes – with an average price of £435,000 – are the most expensive. Flats are much more affordable, with an average price of just over £260,000.

New York City

Suits, the US legal drama series in which Markle made her name, is set in a fictional law firm based in New York City. The show, which began in 2011, has been going for 7 seasons and more than 100 episodes, with confirmation in January 2018 that it was returning for an eighth run-out – albeit this time without Meghan Markle and other regular Patrick J Adams.

New York, along with London one of the financial, fashion, literary and cultural capitals of the world, is an incredibly popular tourist destination and immediately synonymous with yellow cabs, Broadway, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Empire State Building. Its various nicknames – The City That Never Sleeps, the Big Apple, The Empire City, etc. – show how much cultural collateral it has, with New York often used as a location for TV dramas and films. A place, like London, that is instantly identifiable by various landmarks or features.

The property market on the other side of the Atlantic is, however, struggling a tad, with prices for both renting and buying falling. Rents in the New York borough of Manhattan fell by their highest level in nearly seven years in March, a sign of weakening prices in the city.

Still, though, the luxury Manhattan real estate market is highly desirable, with an average price of just below $2 million. Median sales prices for resales are holding steady, up by 2% over the last year, but prices for new developments dropped 17% over the last year while the sales of new homes were down 20%.

While prices slip in more expensive neighbourhoods, they rise in ones that are more affordable. Brooklyn, Upper West Side and Greenwich Village have all seen falls, while Elmhurst and Sunnyside in less fashionable Queens have seen massive price rises.

For the newly married couple, though, we have a feeling high house prices wouldn’t be much of an issue. They could, in theory, live wherever they wanted – from plush pads in Brooklyn to a huge country home in Windsor. The perks of being a royal…