London house prices more than double in 20 years since release of Love Actually
The average house price in London has more than doubled in the 20 years since the Christmas favourite film Love Actually was released, according to analysis.
Released in 2003, Richard Curtis’s romantic comedy boasts a starry ensemble cast including Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martine McCutcheon and Alan Rickman.
The film follows the triumphs and tragedies of various characters’ love lives in a patchwork of interrelated plots.
Estate agent Savills has carried out analysis looking at how house prices in London generally have changed over the past 20 years, as well as looking at changing property values in some key locations where the film was set.
According to Savills’ findings, the average house price in London has surged from £278,000 in the middle of 2003 to £705,000 by the middle of this year.
Savills also analysed Land Registry sales figures to look at sales values in the year to August 2003, compared with those in the year to August 2023.
The film recreates Downing Street, with Grant’s character of the prime minister seen dancing through the corridors of power to the song Jump (For My Love).
Savills looked at how house prices in the wider St James’s ward of London have performed over the past two decades.
It found that the average transaction value 20 years ago was £491,655 but by this year it had increased to £1,747,027.
Savills also looked at how house prices have changed in the West End ward of London, where a wedding scene in Mayfair involving Knightley and Ejiofor’s characters takes place.
It found that, 20 years ago, the average house price in the ward was £585,529.
But, in 2023, a typical home buyer in the ward would receive little change out of £4 million, with the average house price at £3,929,524.
Charles Cutting, co-head of Savills Mayfair, said: “For centuries Mayfair has been a coveted place to live and in the last 20 years since Love Actually was filmed, the area has continued to evolve its residential and lifestyle offering.”
He added: “Home to a number of exclusive members’ clubs and restaurants, South Audley Street is one of Mayfair’s most prestigious addresses with significant houses as well as smart red-brick mansion blocks lining the street.
“The Grosvenor Chapel is a very special local landmark – there are a number of apartments which are lucky enough to overlook it and the views are often something buyers will comment on given its stunning architecture.”
Savills also looked at the London ward of West Putney, a location for school nativity scenes.
It found that the average property transaction value in the ward has jumped from £339,441 to £844,308 over the past 20 years.
Some scenes involving Neeson’s character were also filmed on benches overlooking the Thames.
Savills found that the average house price in the area including the South Bank has increased from £334,160 to £866,215 over the 20-year period.
Meanwhile, those with pens and pieces of cardboard who are looking to recreate the scene where Andrew Lincoln’s character declares his love for Knightley’s character would need around £1.8 million to buy a home in the area.
The average transaction value in the ward of Colville, which takes in the area of Notting Hill where Lincoln’s character professes his love through cards and carols, has increased from £542,140 to £1,870,682.
Mark Redfern, head of Savills Notting Hill, said: “Throughout the 2000s, the profile of the area was raised hugely following the release of Notting Hill and Love Actually.
“In my early career, it was a regular occurrence to be stopped to give directions to various local filming locations – including St Luke’s Mews.
“St Luke’s itself is one of London’s most photogenic mews streets; pastel in colour and with window boxes in full bloom, the properties are truly charming.
“Houses here rarely come to the market and when they do, will receive significant interest, particularly among downsizers looking for a lock-up-and-leave or those seeking a London base.
“Notting Hill has always had such a wonderful sense of community which is why the area remains popular with all types of buyers, from young couples to local and international families seeking a home on one of the garden squares.
“In addition to artists, musicians and creatives, over the last 20 years there has been a rise in those buying here across the tech, banking, hedge fund and law industries as Notting Hill has cemented its position as a key central London location for both local and global buyers.”