Homes in Bath, England, Feature Heavily in ‘Bridgerton’—and Command Robust Demand in Real Life
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Homes in Bath, England, Feature Heavily in ‘Bridgerton’—and Command Robust Demand in Real Life

The small historic city is full of charm, from period architecture to top schools, which has lead to significant price growth over the past five years

By CAROL KING
Mon, May 20, 2024 8:44amGrey Clock 6 min

Bath has long been known for its genteel pleasures and civility.

It came to prominence 2,000 years ago as a religious spa where people worshiped the Roman goddess Sulis Minerva and bathed in the natural thermal spring waters that still flow with hot water today. In the early 1700s it re-emerged as a spa resort, attracting fashionable society as resident Jane Austen observed in her novels.

The city has come to the fore yet again thanks to the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” since many of its well-preserved heritage sites, stone-flagged streets and wisteria-clad mansions form a glamorous backdrop to the show’s high-society Regency world.

For instance, the city’s Holburne Museum acts as Lady Danbury’s townhouse. No. 1 Royal Crescent was used as the Featheringtons’s London home, while the Abbey Deli on Abbey Street was transformed into the Modiste dress shop, and Bath Assembly Rooms served as the venue for Lady Danbury’s ball in the first season. Glimpses of Bath, particularly its City Centre neighbourhood, are back as the first part of season three was released on Thursday.

Boundaries

Bath lies in the River Avon valley 97 miles west of London, between the Cotswold Hills and the Mendips. To the north, the city centre is bounded by Lansdown Road, to the east by the A46 highway, and the south by the A36 and the end of the Lower Bristol Road to the A4 highway. The river runs through the city, dividing it north from south, and there are four main bridges. The Roman Baths lie at the heart of the city, close to the great medieval church, Bath Abbey. The most iconic streets—some of which featured in “Bridgerton”—are the Royal Crescent and the Circus, which are a short walk from the baths and feature sweeping classical facades.

Price Range

David Mackenzie, partner at broker Carter Jonas, said the typical house price is £900,000 to £1 million, reaching up to £6 million for more expensive properties.

One- and two-bedroom apartments fetch between £200,000 to £400,000.

Prime prices cost about £1,000 per square foot, said Savills property consultant Christine Penny.

Housing Stock

Since Bath is a Unesco World Heritage City, its historical environment is protected, so it does not expand. The centre contains tall Georgian townhouses, while there is more modern housing on the infill sites created when the city was bombed during World War II. A Georgian townhouse usually has five stories and 100 stairs.

“They were built with entertaining in mind with large reception rooms, grand proportions, high ceilings, big windows and fireplaces. They have a doll’s-house look,” Mackenzie said. “Many have railings at the front and wrought-iron balconettes.”

The city is famous for its townhouses, like this one, on the market for £3.45 million with Carter Jonas.
Carter Jonas

Parking is at a premium; the Georgians built stables and coach houses at the back of properties but many have since been converted into residences. A garage can cost as much as £200,000 and a secure car-parking space £100,000.

Bathwick Hill and Weston Park also feature Regency villas that are individual in style, unlike the uniform feel of the monumental Georgian terraces.

“The Grand Tour of the day inspired the architects of that era because a lot of the houses will have beautiful pediments and columns that are almost Grecian in feel,” Penny said.

Villas are usually 5,000 to 6,000 square feet in size set within grounds of 0.5 to 1 acre. Such properties are rare, coming on the market once a year and can command between £3 million and £10 million.

What Makes It Unique

“Bath is a lovely mix of town and country life because it is such a small city, added to which it is very beautiful and very safe,” Mackenzie said, calling out the several bodies of water that cut through the city.“It’s very historic, but more recently what has attracted people to Bath is that it’s got very good schools and the University of Bath.”

This home in Bath is on the market for £4.895 million with Savills.
Savills

Former radio producer Penny Faux and her composer husband, Steven, moved to Bath from London with their young family. They were attracted by the city’s beautiful buildings, lack of urban sprawl and good schools. Faux also cited its vibrant arts scene as a draw.

“Bath punches above its weight, with good theatre and music festivals,” Faux said. “It’s also an international place, home to a university and many language schools.”

Bath also has good transport links, including an international airport and train connections into London in 90 minutes.

“It’s immensely attractive with period properties interspersed with lots of public space and parks,” Savills’s Penny said. “We have a university that attracts overseas students. We are a global destination.”

Luxury Amenities

Bath is a lively place with an excellent shopping centre and numerous restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Olive Tree. To relax, there is the Thermae Bath Spa with its natural springs, Royal Victoria Park and the Botanical Gardens on the edge of Royal Crescent. For sports, there are Tracy Park and Lansdown golf clubs to the north, and the Manor House Hotel golf club at Castle Combe.

The Roman Baths are at the heart of the city.
Getty Images

Bath has much to offer culturally with numerous art galleries and museums, as well as music, literary and film festivals. The Theatre Royal stages shows pre and post runs in London’s West End.

Among the top-ranked private schools on the north side are two day and boarding schools that enroll students from pre-kindergarten through high school: the Royal High School Bath school for girls and the co-ed Kingswood.

On the south side, King Edward’s School is co-ed day school geared toward pupils from pre-K to 12th grade. The co-ed Paragon School is for children aged three to 11. Prior Park College is a mixed Catholic day and boarding school for children ages 11 to 18.

Who Lives There

“Bath attracts people with connections outside of the area; a lot of people who work in London. People who move to Bath with their children tend to stay here, so we do have retirees,” Penny said.

There’s also an arts crowd in Bath that goes back to residents like writers Austen and Mary Shelley, Mackenzie said. “It’s also got a lot of academics who love its history, as well as high-net-worth individuals who come for the schools and because it’s safe, yet can get into London very quickly by train.”

Notable Residents

Mackenzie said the city is a lure for the famous because “you can blend in in Bath.” It’s been home at one time or another to many actors, from Indira Varma of “Game of Thrones,” to John Cleese and Nicolas Cage , according to published reports.

Royal Victoria Park is one of many places to relax in Bath.
Getty Images

Also from the arts, designer Manolo Blahnik reportedly made Bath his home 43 years ago and lives in a Georgian townhouse on Camden Crescent by architect John Eveleigh.

Outlook

Mackenzie said prices have increased 15% to 20% over the past five years. At present, it takes on average six to eight weeks for a home to sell. But Mackenzie said that properties in locations such as the Circus, the Royal Crescent, St James’s Square, Lansdown Crescent and Widcombe along the canal sell quickly.

“Property in Bath always holds its value because housing stock never increases, there’s never a flood of properties that come to the market,” he said.

“Bath stands its ground,” said Penny. She said the first quarter of 2024 had been very busy and the value of prime property rose in value 0.6% compared to the previous year.

Mackenzie said prices will remain stable in what is an election year but if a new government reduces stamp duty that may nudge prices up 5%.



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While property values are rising strongly in most markets across Australia, it’s a vastly different story in Victoria and Tasmania, new data from CoreLogic shows. Over the 12 months to May 31, the median house price lifted just 1.8 percent in Melbourne and fell 0.6 percent in regional Victoria. The median dipped 0.1 percent in Hobart and ticked 0.4 percent higher in regional Tasmania. This is in stark contrast to Perth, where values are up 22 percent, and regional Western Australia, up 14.8 percent; as well as Brisbane, up 16.3 percent, and regional Queensland, up 11.8 percent.

CoreLogic Head of Research, Eliza Owen says an oversupply of homes for sale has weakened prices in Victoria and Tasmania, creating buyers’ markets.

On the supply side, there has been more of a build-up in new listings than usual across Victoria, even where home value performance has been relatively soft,” Ms Owen said. Victoria has also had more dwellings completed than any other state and territory in the past 10 years, keeping a lid on price growth. The additional choice in stock means vendors have to bring down their price expectations, and that brings values down.”

Melbourne dwelling values are now four percent below their record high and Hobart dwelling values are 11.5 percent below their record high. Both records were set more than two years ago in March 2022. The oversupply has also affected how long it takes to sell a property. The median days on market is currently 36 in Melbourne and 45 in Hobart compared to a combined capitals median of 27. It takes 55 days to sell in regional Victoria and 64 days in regional Tasmania compared to a combined regional median of 42 days.

Changes in population patterns have also contributed to higher numbers of homes for sale in recent years. Since COVID began in early 2020, thousands of families have left Melbourne because working from home meant they could buy a bigger property in more affordable areas. While many relocated to regional Victoria, a significant proportion left the state altogether, with South-East Queensland a favoured destination. Meantime, Tasmania’s surge in interstate migration during FY21 was short-lived. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the island state has recorded a net loss of residents to other states and territories every quarter since June 2022.

Record overseas migration has more than offset interstate migration losses, thereby keeping Victoria’s and Tasmania’s populations growing. However, the impact of migrants on housing is largely seen in the rental market, so this segment of population gain has done little to support values. Growth in weekly rents has been far stronger than growth in home values over the past year, with rents up 9 percent in Melbourne and 4.8 percent in regional Victoria, and up 1 percent in Hobart and 2.7 percent in regional Tasmania.

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