Rihanna's £27m former London home sold to Chinese buyer

Eight-bedroom St John’s Wood villa was used by the global music star for two and a half years

The garden at Rihanna's former villa in St John's Wood, West London. Photo: Aston Chase / Tony Murray Photography
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The former London mansion of the music star Rihanna has been sold to an overseas buyer from China for £27.5 million ($33.2 million).

Estate agent Savills and Aston Chase said the price set a record for the St John’s Wood housing market in West London.

The double-fronted, eight-bedroom house on St John’s Wood Park covers 588 square metres.

Built in 1844 by local tradesman William Holme Twentyman for De Beers diamond tycoon Daniel Francis, the property was designed by renowned architect John Shaw Junior, under the auspices of historic St John's Wood landowner Walpole Eyre.

'An extremely special house'

"This is an extremely special house, the only one of royal architect John Shaw’s original villas on St John’s Wood Park to have survived into the 21st century," said Stephen Lindsay, head of North London at Savills.

"The substantial price achieved firmly underlines the value and quality of this unique trophy home and the enduring appeal of St John’s Wood with buyers from both the UK and from around the world.

Rihanna used the mansion as her base for two and a half years while renting in London. Several media interviews and Instagram stories were filmed in the house at the time, including some that related to her enjoyment of making ice cream desserts in the large kitchen, the huge garden for relaxation, her love of walking around the local area and even how she shopped at Sainsbury's.

The pop star made such a celebrity impact on the St John's Wood area that the house is still marked on Google Earth as “Rihanna’s home”.

Planning permission

The property itself has been fully refurbished and modernised and has a number of reception and family rooms, formal and casual dining rooms, a study/library, family kitchen and a gym comprising a weights room and exercise studio.

The rear opens on to a 6.5m-long terrace, which leads to the huge garden.

What could have been of interest to the buyer is the detailed planning permission that the mansion has to expand by almost another 930 sq m, which could house a swimming pool and spa with all the associated luxury amenities.

Plan B

That the villa was sold to a buyer from China was no surprise to the selling agents.

“Notwithstanding the current challenging market conditions, this sale is indicative of the surge in demand from Chinese buyers for super-prime homes in London," said Mark Pollack, co-founding director of Aston Chase.

"As a result of an inability to travel during the pandemic, many wealthy Chinese and Hong Kong residents are prioritising a ‘Plan B’ in the eventuality of another unforeseen event leading to the Chinese government restricting movement.

"London is still widely regarded as the best city in the world from a cultural, educational, legal system and political stability perspective, so for those wanting to establish a home in a safe destination it is an obvious choice in the knowledge that they will also potentially benefit from meaningful capital growth over a period of time."

Updated: October 30, 2023, 11:31 AM