Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayfair Lady; Actress Keira Knightley, 19, Has Chosen London's Grandest District to Buy Her First Home. Harry Phibbs Discovers Mayfair's Teen Appeal HOMES & PROPERTY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayfair Lady; Actress Keira Knightley, 19, Has Chosen London's Grandest District to Buy Her First Home. Harry Phibbs Discovers Mayfair's Teen Appeal HOMES & PROPERTY

Article excerpt

Byline: HARRY PHIBBS

AS ANY estate agent - or Monopoly player - will tell you, Mayfair is a hugely expensive place to buy property. It is hardly the first choice for 19-year-old first-time buyers, yet among recent purchasers is the actress Keira Knightley, of Bend it Like Beckham, Pirates of the Caribbean, and, just released, King Arthur fame, who, though not yet 20, has bought a Mayfair flat for [pounds sterling]800,000.

It means Keira is moving out of the family home in Teddington, which belongs to her father, actor Will Knightley, and mother, playwright Sharman McDonald.

Only last summer their daughter lamented: "I still live at home with my parents. I can't afford to move out, let alone buy a house. You can't buy a house in London. It's impossible now. No one can afford it." However, one recent report estimated her wealth modestly at [pounds sterling]1.75 million.

Mayfair, the affluent heart of London, should provide quite a contrast with the sleepy, unflashy suburb of Teddington, where Keira went to the local comprehensive.

Indeed, given that she has won much popularity for being unspoilt and level-headed, her choice of such an ostentatious district in which to live comes as something of a surprise.

But local estate agents insist that Mayfair has never been a better place to move to, largely because the congestion charge has made it far less of a thoroughfare and restored a calmer, more residential feel.

"It is much quieter now," says Peter Wetherell of estate agent Wetherell.

"And the profile of people moving in has been getting younger. We have sold a lot of properties for the Grosvenor Estate that were once offices but have now been converted back to residential use. More British people are buying, too. In the 1970s, there were lots of Americans living around the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, and lots of Arabs moved in as well. …

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