Sunday, 20 November 2011

There’s something about London for Cameron Diaz

The Hollywood A-lister is the latest celebrity to splurge on a smart London home in Belsize Park, as Cheryl Markosky discovered

Cameron Diaz has joined mates Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Helena Bonham-Carter and other A-listers by buying a home in Belsize Park , North West London.

But the 39-year-old Bad Teacher  star who apparently fell in love with Blighty after falling out of love with baseball star Alex Rodriguez has been delighting Belsize Park locals with her casual visits to the local Starbucks and down-to-earth attitude.
 
You’d expect any leading lady or man of note to grab a Georgian pile in Hampstead where there are more luvvies per square foot than Beverley Hills. Or, surely a home in Primrose Hill , also high on the poshometer, would be a better place to plant your Louboutin roots?

But just as the hit There’s Something About Mary propelled the actress to fame, so too is Diaz backing a winner in her choice of this north west London district, according to Peter Brookes from Savills .

“Some stars just have to be in Hampstead Village, but a slightly younger, more hip crowd prefer Belsize Park with its central London vibe,” he says.

Plenty of creative types will be on hand to welcome The Holiday's Atlantic-hopping blonde in her real-life version of fleeing to Blighty, including David Walliams, adjacent couple property-dwellers Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter, James Corden, Frank Skinner and sculptor Mark Quinn.

Along with more chilled Belsize Park celebrities just getting on with their lives (rather than posing for paps outside homes in Hampstead  or Primrose Hill eateries), they’ll also pay less for their homes too. Jamie Gawthrop from Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward  estimates that a property in ‘poor cousin’ Belsize costs about £1,000 as square foot, compared to £1,250 in Hampstead or Primrose Hill.

However, flat values are creeping up and almost on a par with the uppity neighbours’ and entry level for trophy homes in certain streets, such as Lancaster Grove and Lambolle Road, is £5 million plus, adds Brookes.

You can still get a smart two-bedroom flat with high ceilings for £1.4 million, mind. Another plus is you can walk to two good Tube lines: the Jubilee at Swiss Cottage and Northern at Belsize Park.

Diaz can do worse than tread the boards at Hampstead Theatre  (don’t all Hollywood luminaries want to prove themselves on the London stage?) and scramble up the climbing wall at the newly kitted-out leisure centre. She could also mingle with City workers and European bankers (French and Germans are prominent now) at comedy night in the Washington  pub, Greek restaurant Retsina  (a favourite of Gordon Ramsay’s), browse in independent Daunt Books  and be inspired by a career-changing arts film at the Everyman .
Belsize Park’s so cool it can’t even be tipped to be the new Hampstead, declares Brookes.  “It’s just different and people very much like living here.”

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