22 Wednesday, 4 November 2009 London Lite Smart money isinthe market FROM CAMDEN AND NOTTING HILL TO BOROUGH OR HACKNEY,Market moves... THE Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has reported a rise in enquiries from first-time buyers: there has apparently been a 28 per cent increase in the last three months. And property portal Rightmove reports that about 65 per cent of first-time buyers believe that now is a good time to buy, according to a survey of 35,000 young people it carried out recently. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of respondents said they didnt think house prices would go down again in the next year. ROBBIE WILLIAMS has been looking around a mews house that Nicole Kidman nearly bought, only to pull out of the sale at the last minute when she found out she was pregnant. The three-bed home in Belgravia is owned by developer Alan Waxman, who runs Landmass, specialists in building homes for the rich and famous. It boasts Londons deepest basement -- housing a cinema and a bar -- and also the capitals tallest water feature, measuring three storeys. Its on the market for 7.95m through Strutt & Parker agency (though thats a bargain considering its down from 12m in June). THE smallest house in Mayfair is currently up for sale through Wetherell agency. The dinky one- bedroom house, located in a hidden passageway running between Regent Street and Savile Row, measures just 693 sq ft. It is up for sale for a not-so-tiny 750,000 -- the typical price of a one-bed flat in this well-heeled area. R&B singer Craig David, below, could be about to join the ranks of the accidental landlords. He has been trying to sell his Hampstead Heath penthouse, which he bought for 2.5m in 2002 and put on the market this year for 6.25m. Not surprisingly, it didnt find a buyer and the star is now offering it for rent. The three- bedroom property has a home cinema and state-of- the-art technology -- and it could be all yours for a cool 6,000 per week. BY RUTH BLOOMFIELD L ONDON is world-famous for its street markets, from Boroughs foodie heaven to the floral Eden of Columbia Road. And thanks to the boom in locally sourced and organic produce, the capital has seen its number of markets shoot up. But while most of us love visiting a market for a couple of hours on a weekend, what about buying a home within minutes of the stalls and their sights and smells? Phifi Tsannos, manager of Camden Town branch of Hotblack Desiato, says shes noticed a stream of young profes- sionals keen to live right by Camden Market. They like the buzz, theyre not fazed by how busy it gets, she says. But it isnt cheap. A typical two- bed flat costs between 450,000 and 540,000. A four-bed house on the best street, Gloucester Crescent, is up to 3m. Albert Street, which runs parallel to the market and was once home to the Gallagher brothers, is cheaper, with an unmodernised house there at 1.4m. The Brixton Market area is more affordable. Martin Dixon, of the Martin Barry Partnership, recommends Rushcroft Road, where a two- or three-bed mansion flat costs 250,000 to 300,000. In genteel, tree-lined Saltoun or Kellett Roads, just off Atlantic Road, a three-storey, four-bed Victorian house costs 500,000. There is no real downside, and they are close to the high street and the Tube station, he says. Nicholas Leeming, director of property website Zoopla, believes buying near a market is a smart move. People like an area with character, he says. But buyers should be careful to know exactly when markets open and deliver- ies are made. Is the area noisy at the crack of dawn or late at night? Borough Market, for example, only really opens on Thursday to Saturday, and its a lovely place, packed with bars and restaurants, with bags of charac- ter, says Mr Leeming. He believes there might be a minor dampening of prices literally on the doorstep of a market -- perhaps five or 10 per cent compared with similar properties nearby -- but that the market will have already boosted local prices, cancelling out potential losses. Portobello Road is the gold standard for market living. Johnny Fuller of Savills in Kensington says addresses like Chepstow Villas or Dawson Place are the province of bankers, old money and trustafarians. Two-bed flats start at 500,000 and houses go for between 2m and 15m. The market itself is bedlam but you go 20 yards away and you wouldnt even know it was there, he says. Homes actually on Portobello Road are mostly above shops, and therefore about 20 per cent cheaper (although getting a mortgage for them may be a challenge). A safer bet is the North Kensington side where the markets overpriced antiques give way to vin- tage clothes and fruit and veg. Two-bed flats cost about 325,000 and four-bed houses begin at 750,000. For an investment, the smart money will head to a run-down market where improvements are planned. James Hyman at Cluttons says the Borough Market regeneration single-handedly led to a near-tripling of prices in the surrounding area. In 2001 youd have been paying 550-a-square foot there. Now it is more like 1,300. And you can get in on the act now in Hackney. The council is planning to revamp three of its declining mar- kets: Well Street in Hackney, Hoxton Street market in Shoreditch and Kingsland Waste Market. Living beside a market might not be for everyone, says Mr Hyman. There will be some noise, but they are vibrant and fun and can be a catalyst for a real boom in prices. Market forces: Verity Casey enjoys the hustle and bustle of Camden LockCamden Lock Property&interiors index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html