Real estate buyers from Hong Kong, Egypt the Middle East and other areas abroad are showing strong interest in prime properties located in central London. Realtors at W.A. Ellis report strong sales in properties priced £2 million and below as well as greater interest in rentals in the range of £1,000 to £2,000 per week. The increased attention in high-end rentals has stoked demands that the industry be better regulated and realtors in prime markets are supportive of the movement. Surprisingly, even when rental fees are very high there is no regulation for landlords to provide tenant money protection, indemnity insurance or a stipulated plan of redress for tenant or landlord grievances in the United Kingdom. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.
An influx of foreign property investor money has helped make the prime central London residential real estate market buoyant, according to the latest report from agents W.A.Ellis.
The firm’s sales department has experienced it busiest January since 2009 and the £2 million and below sector has been exceptional and buyers also coming from Egypt, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
The prime lettings market has also been strong with the firm seeing competitive bidding in the £1,500 to £2,000 per week price range.
‘This influx of activity indicates that the market has adjusted to the new Finance Bill and purchasers are now proceeding with renewed confidence,’ said partner Richard Barber.
He gives as an example a three bedroom flat in Egerton Crescent, Knightsbridge which was put on the market for £2 million on a 44 year lease at the end of January which within days had 16 viewings and two offers.
‘This is a particularly good flat in an excellent location and the response is indicative of the strength of demand for quality Knightsbridge flats. We also launched an unmodernised house in Brompton Square two weeks ago priced at £4.5 million and had 10 viewings on the first day, a testament to the continued confidence which property developers have in the prime central London market,’ he explained.
he also pointed out that the is now consistently seeing rates above £2,000 per square foot being achieved and many developers believe that £2,500 per square foot will be reached for newly developed stock.
He also said that many foreign buyers are choosing to structure their purchases in their own names rather than in corporate wrappers which have been criticised by politians.
Barber expects the current strength of the market will continue. ‘While we doubt we will see huge capital growth this year, we are confident that transactional levels will be sustained. With spring around the corner, we anticipate the sales market, and in particular the house side, will become even more buoyant,’ he said.
Lucy Morton, senior partner and head of lettings, said that towards the end of January, the lettings market has been particularly strong, with double the amount of offers agreed in the last week of January compared to the previous week.
‘I think that people really seemed to switch off over the extended Christmas and New Year break, and clearly put their property searches on hold until the latter part of January. All areas of the market have been buoyant, particularly between £1,500 and £2,000 per week where we have seen competitive bidding,’ she explained.
An example is a three bedroom flat in Chelsea which went onto the market last week and within the allotted one hour viewing slot, 10 prospective tenants viewed and an asking price offer was agreed within 24 hours of the viewings.
She is backing calls for the lettings industry in the UK to be regulated. Yesterday the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors called on the government not to waste any more time and introduce compulsory regulation as currently anyone can set themselves up as a lettings agency.
Recently Baroness Hayter proposing an amendment to extend the scope of the Estate Agents Act to include letting and managing agents but amendment was withdrawn. ‘This is very normal and generally means that it will come back in the report stage and that an amendment may still be possible but it never ceases to amaze me that the Government will not regulate our industry,’ said Morton.
‘At the very least, all agents should have client money protection, professional indemnity insurance and sign up to a redress scheme. A small amendment to include lettings agents under the Estate Agents Act would go a long way to improve standards and professionalism in our industry and put a stop to the rogues,’ she added.
This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.