Moss and friends caught up in the property slump

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The Independent Online

It will be little comfort, perhaps, to the thousands facing the threat of negative equity, but celebrities are finding themselves at the sharp end of falling house prices as luxury properties plummet by hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Estate agents estimate that Kate Moss's mansion in St John's Wood, north London, has fallen in value by a whopping £250,000 in the five months since she bought it, while Jude Law's Georgian pile in nearby Maida Vale is thought to be worth £300,000 less than he paid for it in March.

Properties across the upmarket areas of north London, home to Ms Moss and friends, have dropped by between 7 and 9 per cent in the past year. Stars living in south-west London, such as the Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, have done even worse than their friends in other parts of the city. Most properties in Putney, Barnes, Wandsworth, Fulham and Richmond have dropped in the region of 10 per cent in the past year.

Celebrities who live outside London haven't escaped the downturn. Cheshire, home to sports stars such as Wayne Rooney, Andrew Flintoff, Brad Friedel and Wes Brown, has been hit by price falls of as much as 20 per cent in some areas.

The Manchester United and England star Rooney has a six-bedroom mansion in the picturesque village of Prestbury; it comes complete with neo-Georgian pillars, swimming pool and cinema – and is thought to have dropped in value by around £1m since last year. "In real terms, prices have only dropped between 5 and 10 per cent, but in terms of asking prices they have dropped massively," said Edward Naden, director of the Cheshire estate agents Holmes-Naden. "People can still afford to pay the prices that they could last year. They are just being cheeky and choosing not to."

Lucian Cook of Savills said: "Celebrities who are in the same market as those brokers and bankers who are worried over their job security or expecting significantly reduced bonuses will have suffered the most."

Some canny celebrities have invested wisely and avoided the brunt of the downturn. GMTV's Fiona Phillips splashed out £1.5m on a property in the coveted "Toast Rack" area of Wandsworth which is now worth £3.4m, down from a high of £4m.

"In the Toast Rack, prices bear up particularly well," said Andrew Harris of Savills. "The demand is always there; they are big, family houses with Wandsworth Common on their doorstep, and it is particularly close to schools within the area."

Sandbanks, near Bournemouth, described as Britain's Monte Carlo, has also weathered the storm. Tom Doyle, an estate agent who works in the area, said: "We haven't seen a drop in value at all. It is supply and demand – there are still lots of peoplewho want to live here. We sold a property on the water six weeks ago that was advertised for £4m but went for way over £5m."

Additional reporting by Lily Kemp