Alex Newall, managing director at Hanover Private Office, on the continuing international popularity of the Wentworth Estate and its sheltered, exclusive properties
The eyes of the world focus on Wentworth from today when the great (Rory McIlroy) and the good arrive for the PGA Championship that runs from the 21st to the 24th May. However, the attraction is not simply sporting or seasonal as the Wentworth Estate continues to be a magnet for wealthy international buyers looking to secure the perfect residence overlooking the immaculate fairways of the exclusive golf course.
Dating back some 100 years and extending to 700 hectares of woodland and heathland, Wentworth lies between Windsor Great Park and Chobham Common to the south, some of the most protected landscapes in the country. Originally created in 1805 by Culling Charles Smith, it was in 1912 that the builder Walter George Tarrant created the scheme of handsome homes on one acre plots surrounding a first class golf course. By the 1960s almost every available plot on the estate had been built on and the golf course had built up a formidable reputation, hosting the Ryder Cup in 1953 and the PGA Championship in 1972. Last year in 2014, the Chinese property developer, Reignwood Group acquired the Wentworth Club for a price reported to be around ’135m.
Today, wealthy residents now occupy the 600 or so properties and valuations in the region of ’50m are not unheard of. Architectural styles have become more diluted, ranging from’the original arts and crafts inspired 'Tarrant' houses to’neo-classical mansions to ultra-contemporary residences built of glass and steel, standing on secluded generous plots. This is the territory belonging to a truly international market place.
For three decades Saudi families and royalty have been residents, since then a rising number of Eastern Europeans have followed, along with those from China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. UHNWI are attracted to the private, generous plots and security. Excellent transport links are high on their wish lists and the prestigious areas of Wentworth, Virginia Water, Sunningdale, Ascot, Englefield Green and’Windlesham offer a tranquil setting, yet only 21 miles from Central London and seven miles from Heathrow airport.
International buyers are attracted by world class schools including’Eton, Harrow, ACS Egham’and St Mary's being nearby. Some of the finest Michelin starred restaurants are within a 30 minute drive, such as The Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck. This is polo country, with the Guards Polo Club ’ Europe's largest ’ at nearby Windsor Great Park.
In north Surrey values have continued to rise because of a lack of stock and increasing demand from UK and overseas buyers. On average property for sale on Wentworth may cost ’5m plus for the plot alone, buying you two to three acres on the 'main island'. Factor in ’7m to build a neo-classical mansion and two years later you end up with a property worth around ’20m in one of the most exclusive locations outside of central London. Counties.
This prime pocket of Surrey is unique in providing a safe haven for its international residents. Living here is discreet; so generous and private are the plots, that even during the PGA Championship when Wentworth golf course becomes a hive of activity, residents can still live beneath the radar while the golf action is happening on their doorstep.
Alex Newall is founder and managing director of Hanover Private Office
T: +44(0) 20 7935 5797