A Regent’s Park mansion is up for sale after a large loan secured by its Saudi owners expired, putting the house in the hands of lenders and triggering what is likely to be London’s most expensive home sale ever.
The Holme, situated on four acres of Regent’s Park in central London, has already attracted interest from ultra-wealthy buyers and agents selling the property are expecting a deal of up to £250m, according to people with knowledge of the transaction. That would top the price of London’s previous most expensive home, the £210m mansion overlooking Hyde Park owned by Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan.
The sale and the unusual circumstances surrounding it provide a rare window into the dealings of wealthy foreign investors in London property – transactions that are usually shrouded in secrecy.
“It’s extraordinary to have four acres of Regent’s Park being repossessed,” said a real estate investor with knowledge of the sale, which was first reported by React News.
Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family and Saudi Arabia’s representative to the United Nations in Vienna, is one of the beneficial owners of the property along with other family members, according to Land Registry records.
The mansion fell into the hands of creditors after a loan of around £150m, secured by the property as well as other assets including a New York home and a plane, expired, according to three people with knowledge of the deal.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom, squeezed members of the royal family and even arrested some princes, alongside business leaders, at the Ritz Carton hotel in Riyadh in 2017 in an alleged anti-corruption campaign. Since then, many royals have kept a lower profile amid rumors that more of their perks and riches could be stripped away. Prince Abdullah could not be reached for comment.
The Holme is the highest-value asset in the property portfolio against which the debt is secured, and the sale of the London home is seen as the easiest way to repay the loan, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.
Receivers have appointed agents Knight Frank and Beauchamp Estates to handle the luxury sale, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The 205-year-old villa, one of a small number of sought-after residences located within London’s central parkland, was built as a home for James Burton, a Georgian developer, who built large portions of the capital in areas such as Bloomsbury. and Regent Street. The free owner of the land is the Crown Estate. Knight Frank and Beauchamp Estates declined to comment.
“It’s a fitting trophy. . . and you’ll have to wait a bit for the next one, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it breaks records. It wouldn’t be a low-profile transaction, so it would require a buyer who isn’t shy,” said Roarie Scarisbrick, partner at Property Vision, a buying agent, who added that the list of buyers with the resources to buy the house is small and therefore , the final price is difficult to predict.
The market for London’s most expensive homes has been increasingly dominated by foreign buyers in recent decades, with UK capital favored in part because of its robust property laws and ability to buy discreetly, leaving virtually no trace of final property.
But the UK government has recently sought to shed light on opaque ownership structures, pressuring foreign organizations to declare their beneficial ownership status or face fines. According to a person with knowledge of the sales process, two of the three potential buyers who have expressed interest are from London, with the other being a foreigner. The home would likely be purchased by a developer rather than a family planning to live in it, he added.
The previous sale of London’s most expensive home, the 45-bedroom mansion at 2-8a Rutland Gate, was closed in secret shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic and involved a British Virgin Islands company buying the property from an entity registered in Curacao. The FT revealed last year that the house belongs to Hui, once China’s richest man.
Additional reporting by Sam Jones