The World's Top 10 Most Exclusive Streets 2013
Demand for real estate on the planet’s premier streets is booming, fuelled by a limited supply of properties and owners seldom compelled to sell.
Picture a square metre. It’s not much, maybe just enough space for a coffee table or a smallish wine fridge. Now imagine that square metre is worth more than US$100,000.
For the wealthiest billionaires who make their home on the world’s most exclusive streets, this is reality. Despite economic uncertainty and wobbling property markets elsewhere, real estate in the most coveted corners of the globe — including the iconic Avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco and New York’s Fifth Avenue — is still changing hands for sky-high price tags. At the top end this can mean US$170 million for an average property. What’s more, the values of these ‘Bollinger Boulevards’ have in many cases continued to rise against the backdrop of a global financial crisis that has knocked an average 40 percent off the value of the world’s property market.
“The appeal of super-prime property has rarely been higher,” said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank. “Rising demand for the best properties in the best locations has been set against tight demand, with limited new supply and discretionary owners who seldom feel compelled to sell.”
Research supports his view that desire for bricks and mortar is stronger than ever among the über wealthy. According to intelligence provider Wealth-X, the total real-estate holdings of the world’s billionaires is estimated at US$169 billion, or an average of US$78 million per billionaire. Billionaires own an average of four homes with each one worth nearly US$20 million, many of which are based in trophy cities such as London, New York and Paris. “The prime markets are still about investing in the most-established locations in the best areas with the highest-quality property,” said Edward de Mallet Morgan at Knight Frank.
Here, Billionaire exclusively reveals the top 10 most-expensive streets on the planet, with data provided by Knight Frank. Streets were ranked on the basis of average price per square metre. Rises in price include currency fluctuations.
1. Pollock’s Path, The Peak, Hong Kong
Average price per square metre: US$120,000 (HK$930,670)
Price change year on year: +10%
Neighbours: movie star Stephen Chow, HSBC top brass
With its panoramic views over Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour, the prestigious Pollock’s Path on The Peak is the world’s most-expensive street. The mountain has long been the stamping ground of Hong Kong’s super-rich, harking back to days when residents would be hoisted up and down in sedan chairs. Prices on Pollock’s Path rival those on neighbouring Severn Road and Barker Road, but chic new developments on this winding path have pushed up prices. Skyhigh, a development at number 10–18 Pollock’s Path, is one of the most prestigious developments on this road, developed by Hong Kong celebrity Stephen Chow. Records were set, not only for this road but for Hong Kong overall, when, in 2011, apartment number 10 sold for HK$800 million (US$103 million). Meanwhile, the former French Consulate, 8 Pollock’s Path, sold in 2011 for HK$580 million.
2. Kensington Palace Gardens, London, UK
Average price per square metre: US$107,000 (£69,900)
Price change year on year: +2%
Neighbours: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (and new Prince George), Lakshmi Mittal, Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter Tamara
Widely considered London’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’, leafy Kensington Palace Gardens is the world’s second-most-expensive street. Here, properties change hands for as much as £122 million (US$195 million). No doubt the street’s latest arrivals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who moved into the road’s eponymous palace, have helped boost prices — even if neighbours do have to put up with a few more paparazzi. This private, tree-lined avenue is home to the French, Russian and Japanese embassies among others, and some of the world’s most famous billionaires. Indian-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal owns number 9a and 18–19. And, if he ever needs to borrow a cup of sugar, his oligarch-next-door at number 17, Roman Abramovich, will surely oblige.
3. Avenue Princesse Grace, Monaco
Average price per square metre: US$86,000 (€65,000)
Price change year on year: +5%
Neighbours: Andrea Bocelli, Roger Moore, Lewis Hamilton, Helena Christensen
Glamorous Monaco, host to the F1 Grand Prix and the annual Monaco Boat Show, is a melting pot for Europe’s super-rich. The most-exclusive street in this tiny principality is iconic Avenue Princesse Grace, which winds along the sea front. At the peak of the property boom, prices on the palm-tree-lined street were surpassing €100,000 (US$135,000) per square metre. But, since the recession, values have cooled substantially, now down to an average €65,000 per square metre, although Knight Frank believes they are back on the up. Due to finite space, the majority of developments on this street are now rental-only so a premium is often paid for recent builds such as the Mirabeau and number 21 Avenue Princesse Grace. Other new-build constructions, including L’Oiseau Bleu and the Tour Odeon (soon to be Monaco’s tallest building), have appeared on the avenue, which runs between Casino Square and the Monte-Carlo Beach Club. Knight Frank says many of these constructions are being bought off-plan as both an investment and lifestyle option, as Monaco seeks to establish itself as a family destination.
4. Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, Cap Ferrat, France
Average price per square metre: US$79,000 (€60,000)
Price change year on year: -5%
Neighbours: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen reportedly owns a holiday home, as did Charlie Chaplin
The highly exclusive peninsula of Cap Ferrat may be the most-sought-after piece of land along the Mediterranean Côte d’Azur, resulting in it being the world’s priciest non-urban location. Situated about 15km from Monaco, the Cap, as it is affectionately known, has long been a Mecca for the rich and famous. The Boulevard du Général de Gaulle is the main road that loops around the peninsula, spotted with vast beachfront villas and sprawling, gated gardens. It is also home to luxury hotels, including the famous Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat with its Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Cap. Rarely transacted waterfront properties tend to command the highest prices — a limited number of these properties on this winding road with panoramic views over the Mediterranean ensure values remain sky high.
5. Paterson Hill, Singapore
Average price per square metre: US$42,500 (SGD$53,800)
Price change year on year: +6.5%
Neighbours: Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and former Miss Singapore beauty queen Rachel Kum
Singapore’s most-prestigious residential address is the plush cul-de-sac Paterson Hill, widely considered the city-state’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’. Prices here have jumped in the last year, largely down to currency fluctuations. Paterson Hill is located in the prestigious district 09, a tranquil residential area within close proximity to the well-known Orchard Road shopping belt with its collection of designer boutiques and exclusive restaurants. It is also located close to various international schools. The most-expensive condominium on this road is The Marq, which features one highlight condo with interiors designed by Hermès, and a private lap pool cantilevered outside each apartment. It achieved a record price of SGD$6,850 (US$5,509) per square foot for a 3,003 square foot unit in November 2011.
6. Chemin de Ruth, Geneva, Switzerland
Average price per square metre: US$37,000 (CHF 30,000)
Price change year on year: -5%
Neighbours: France’s Peugeot family, former French tennis player Henri Leconte and former French alpine-skier Jean-Claude Killy
Located in the heart of Switzerland’s Cologny, close to the shores of Lake Geneva, the prestigious Chemin de Ruth is Switzerland’s most-expensive street. The mansions on this stone-walled street come with more land than most other streets of Cologny, many with beautiful landscaped gardens and large swimming pools. Many properties on the street overlook the lake, with views of the famous Jet d’Eau, the United Nations buildings and the headquarters of the World Economic Forum. Between 2008 and 2010 five properties on this street sold for more than CHF12 million (US$13.1 million), while the record price for a house on this street is CHF33 million. “There are a few very significant residences that are slowly being introduced to the market in a discreet manner,” said Liam Bailey of Knight Frank. “This is keeping the prices so high.”
7. Romazzino Hill, Sardinia
Average price per square metre: US$32,900 (€25,000)
Price change year on year: stable
Neighbours: Saudi Arabian politician Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Ural steel tycoon Alexei Mordashov, Qatar royal family members
The Aga Khan turned the Costa Smerelda, Sardinia, into his holiday retreat in the 1960s; ever since then it has been known as the quintessential billionaires’ holiday playground. On the region’s most-sought-after road, the winding Romazzino Hill, expect to pay an average price of €30,000 (US$40,591) per square metre. The street first made headlines after multi-millionaire Italian industrialist Carlo de Benedetti sold his seafront Villa Rocky Ram for €110 million to a Russian buyer (reportedly Alexei Mordashov). Savills recently sold a two-bedroom apartment measuring approximately 200 square metres for an asking price of €5 million, or €25,000 per square metre, on this street. Some of the location’s most-exclusive hotels include the Cala di Volpe and the Romazzino, both part of The Luxury Collection. A historical owner of this area is Saudi Arabian politician Ahmed Zaki Yamani.
8. Ostozhenka, Moscow, Russia
Average price per square metre: US$29,000
Price change year on year: +3.6%
Record price: US$48 million
Neighbours: Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov
The darling of Muscovite aristocracy and wealthy merchants, Ostozhenka in downtown Moscow is one of the oldest streets in Russia and its most expensive. Dotted with Art Nouveau buildings and famous landmarks, including The Kremlin, the Pushkin Museum and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, this street is Muscovite heritage at its finest. Over the last decade several prestigious housing units were built on the street: mostly small in size containing a limited number of apartments. The most-expensive apartment ever sold on Ostozhenka Street was a five-level property of 1,240 square metres located in Crystal House for US$48 million. In 2012, a 385 square metre apartment located on the sixth floor of the Grand-Prix residential complex changed hands for US$15 million. A recent lack of new development has supported buyers’ interest at a high level. Some of the city’s most-sought-after restaurants, including French/Japanese eatery Vanil at number 1 and Snobs at number 3, are located on this street; plus the city’s best (reportedly) Georgian restaurants: Genatsvale and Tiflis.
9. Fifth Avenue, New York, US
Average price per square metre: US$28,000
Price change year on year: +5.4%
Neighbours: Bill Murray, Tom Brokaw
New York’s rich and famous have flocked to Fifth Avenue since the 1900s for its exclusive cachet and central location. The most-expensive properties are those sold along the stretch between 59th and 96th, where the street fronts leafy Central Park. In line with the recovering US economy, prices here have soared more than five percent within the last year. The street is also one of the world’s most expensive for shopping and commercial rents, decorated with every top designer boutique, from Armani through to Zegna. The street is home to the most iconic landmark buildings and shopping centres in the US, including the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center and Saks. The agent is currently listing a six-bedroom fifth-floor apartment in The Stanhope, at 995 Fifth Avenue, for US$29.9 million.
10. Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France
Average price per square metre: US$26,000 (€20,000)
Price change year on year: -3%
Neighbours: Canadian Embassy, Marlene Dietrich (before her death in 1992)
With a reputation as la grande dame of French high-fashion streets, Avenue Montaigne has also become an exclusive residential neighbourhood for France’s wealthy and famous. Located in the 8th arrondissement in the Champs Élysées quarter, this 350-year-old avenue is steeped in cultural history. However, with its glittering array of jewellers and upscale designers, it has been the target of at least two sophisticated heists. In 2008, jeweller Harry Winston (located at number 29) was robbed of more than €80 million (US$108 million) worth of diamond rings, necklaces and luxury watches, the second such robbery within two years for the store. The street is also home to upscale hotel Plaza Athénée.