SW1 is probably one of the most prestigious postcodes in London and home only to the very wealthy. Belgravia is a stones throw from central London, nestled in an exceptional location, between Buckingham Palace, Sloane Square, Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Owned virtually outright by the Grosvenor Estate, since its construction around 1840, freeholds are rare and the building regulations are strict. The Estate still enforces a particular shade of cream on every facade and bans street drinking, even outside the pubs. It is a truly luxurious area; an enclave of white stucco which maintains a peaceful atmosphere, yet is only minutes away from Westminster and the crowds in the West End. Shops are generally inhibited to conduct business in the area (and the few that are there tend to be art galleries). What passes for retailing thoroughfares in Belgravia can be found on Elizabeth and Motcomb Street.
Longer leases and freeholds are now a possibility, since the Leasehold Reform Acts. Properties of various sizes, from tiny to embassy size, are mainly owned by the Grosvenor Estate. Chester and Eaton Square contain grand, white stucco terraces and houses, whilst the elegant homes of Belgrave Square remain the domain of embassies. Charming converted-stable mews properties, in cobbled cul-de-sacs, lie tucked away from view. Grand Regency homes provide converted apartments to an opulent level. Service charges can affect prices dramatically, as they may vary from £50 a year, to £10000 a year. It is difficult to gauge 'average' prices in this area, as the length of lease and the luxury of the interiors can vary massively.
Diplomats are common in this area and other inhabitants might include the cherished employees of major companies. Only the privileged and the very wealthy can purchase property here. Russian buyers have been keen in recent years. Ethnic minorities are not prevalent.