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TORY WIN ENDS PRIME LONDON RESI SALES STAGNATION

A landslide Conservative victory at the polls has injected fresh confidence in the prime residential market after a period of stagnation.

Prime central London agents have reported a string of multi-million deals less than 24 hours after the result.

Boutique luxury residential agent Aston Chase confirmed two sales on the morning of Friday 13 December – a £3.85m Marylebone flat and a £4.9m house in St John’s Wood from a British buyer in the US.

Aston Chase founder Mark Pollack said: “These deals are indicative of the renewed confidence in the future of the UK economy following a resounding Conservative victory.

“The market has clearly breathed a huge sigh of relief and I suspect we can now expect a significantly increased volume of transactions in the first quarter of 2020, following the pent up demand that had built up over the last three years.”

He noted that buyer sentiment had begun to pick-up in the run-up to the general election, with another £4.65m transaction, as the polls pointed to a Conservative majority.

Buyers that embraced an element of risk were rewarded with favourable currency rates.

Trevor Abrahmsohn, founder of luxury estate agency Glentree International said he closed one £25m sale prior to the election to an Eastern European buyer and a £28m sale to an Asian buyer the morning of the result.

Abrahmsohn said: “I try to be ahead of the game. I phoned people and said, ‘Listen, what are you waiting for? You’ve got the green light, there has been a seismic change.’

“You have ten years of stable, political, fiscal economic environment, with Brexit now a thing of the past. There is nothing to hold back the economy, the residential property market, it is all systems go.”

Jonathan Vandermolen, chief executive and founder of Vandermolen Real Estate, said the capital is particularly attractive to international buyers right now.

“With the reduction in values and the gain in currency, London now looks cheap,” said Vandermolen.

He also predicted a surge at the lower end of the market, with renewed confidence inspiring buyers across the board.

“For the last quarter,” he added, “there has been a lack of activity where sellers have not wanted to recognise what the market has been telling them their assets are worth and they have been hiding under a Brexit-General Election blanket.”

He said political certainty will now see this move forward, driving sales but not necessarily increased sales values, “as the market is still overpriced”.

Developer London Square said it will look to double its new homes pipeline to £2.6bn following the result, with a goal to deliver up to 1,000 new homes a year.

Chief executive Adam Lawrence said: “This is a time for great optimism and we anticipate a post-Brexit bounce in the market once the uncertainty of the past three years has lifted.

“We will now be pushing ahead for significant investment in the land market off the back of this result the next two years, ready for the pent-up demand that will most certainly emerge.”

To send feedback, e-mail emma.rosser@egi.co.uk or tweet @EmmaARosser or @estatesgazette

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PROPERTY INDUSTRY REACTS TO GENERAL ELECTION RESULT

As millions wake up on this Fri 13th morning to the general election result, we take a look to see how the property industry has reacted.

So, the votes are all in. They have been counted and the UK has spoken. As usual, the property industry was quick to react to the result. Here’s what they’re saying:

Sebastian Kalmar, Residential Director at KALMARs said, “The result of the general election and the strong Conservative position should benefit the property market, as we now look towards greater clarity regarding the UK’s departure from the European Union and less uncertainty for buyers in the market.

“For many buyers, the question of Brexit has put their purchasing plans on hold, but we expect a renewed surge in people committing to homes across London in the New Year. KALMARs currently have large development deals totalling £161m under offer, much of which is held back by this uncertainty. In addition, many London developers will be encouraged by increased market stability and are in favour of the Conservative leadership.

“This may boost the premium new homes market, as this is a sector that has performed well under Conservative leadership, with land and sites being sold for new high-quality homes across the capital. Our local MP’s have all been re-elected and represent the more pro-business side of the labour party this is also considered a positive for the South London area.”

Mark Pollack, Director and Co-founder of Aston Chase said, “The outcome of the 2019 General Election and a Conservative led Government will inevitably provide an enormous boost for the London residential property market.

“With Boris Johnson’s victory we now have a greater level of certainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit affording a great sense of relief and renewed confidence in the knowledge of a hopefully more stable political future.

“We anticipate a significant surge of sales and rental activity across prime central London arising from pent-up demand from both domestic and international buyers as things finally return to ‘business as usual’ and in the knowledge that London will remain a highly desirable destination and a stronghold for investment, business and education.

“With the outcome of the election now determined and a working majority the Government can now progress with the Brexit negotiations and we expect that this will be the catalyst for renewed confidence in the London property market from both UK end-users and from international investors from across the globe.”

Saul Empson, Harringtons: “For the wealthy, this is a hugely comforting outcome – they have the party of their choice in power with a majority and buyers and sellers can all get on with our lives and push forward with the moving plans that they’ve been sitting on for quite some time.”

Nina Harrison, Executive at Haringtons Buying Agency, commented: “I would expect prices to increase – they won’t race up but prices will definitely strengthen in Central London as more people start to buy and sell again.”

Caroline Takla, Founder of prime London buying agency The Collection: “Today’s result will be doomsday for a lot of high value deals. I know many buyers who categorically wouldn’t exchange until after the election result, so today, many purchasers and vendors alike will be happy knowing Corbyn’s name is now confined to the history books.

A Conservative majority is the outcome most likely to deliver stability and much needed certainty to the market and one that many of my clients were hoping for. On a local level, there will be more confidence in the market. It will be perceived as a direction of travel. Whilst the precise details of our future relationship with the EU are still not formed, much of the Brexit effect has been priced into the market already. The market will buoy initially but as these details continue to infold there will still be buyers who will hesitate before committing.”

Guy Harrington, CEO of property lender Glenhawk: “Finally some light at the end of the Brexit tunnel. This result, coupled with finally leaving the EU in January, is the tonic the real estate market’s been waiting for. Expect improved liquidity, greater transaction volumes, a stronger pound and a bounce in the housing market, all of which will benefit lenders, investors and developers alike.”

Walter Mythen, New Homes Director at JOHNS&CO: “This is the best outcome for the property market although we anticipate growth will continue to be slow for the foreseeable future as people recover from the hangover of the last three years of political instability.

A Tory majority gives us some much needed clarity and will result in a quicker bounceback to a ‘normal’ market. We wouldn’t expect any dramatic increases or decreases in the market but buyers and sellers will finally be able to get moving. We may well see the return of the casual investor too – who had all but disappeared in the last three years of political instability.”

Richard Pike at Phoebus Software: “People have voted for a resolutional Brexit, but what does a Conservative majority mean for our Sector? The fact is, a stronger pound, a surge in the money markets and, based on campaign policy, this should be good for all.”

People have voted for a resolutional Brexit, but what does a Conservative majority mean for our Sector? The fact is, a stronger pound, a surge in the money markets and, based on campaign policy, this should be good for all.”

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment: “Many will be somewhat relieved with this result – a Conservative majority means we are a step closer to ensuring Brexit will be finalised in some shape or form come the end of January 2020. As expected, there have been some significant movements on the financial markets which is to be expected. Once an election result is announced, the markets will naturally take time to adjust to the news, before once again becoming stable.

Of all the possible outcomes to come from the yesterday’s election, a Conservative majority provides the most clarity. Their position on Brexit is clear and now we wait for Boris Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement to once again be voted on in parliament. Importantly, I hope the government uses this victory to start making progress on national issues that have been ignored, such as the property market.”

Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops, comments: “Over the last few years, both buyers and sellers have done well to adjust to the ongoing uncertainty facing our country, yet we hope that today’s result will finally provide some reassurance to the property market. Throughout the Conservative party’s campaign they pledged their support for greater home ownership and so now is the time for them to form a Government that will deliver on this.

In the lead up to Boris being elected Prime Minister, he spoke widely about stamp duty cuts for UK residents, yet this quickly fell by the wayside as he settled in to No.10. Our latest research found that 41% of consumers think there should be a wholesale reduction in stamp duty across all price brackets, while more than a quarter think Government should abolish stamp duty on all homes under £500,000. Just 3% felt no change was required, which highlights the need for change.

It was therefore disappointing to see the party’s manifesto only focussed on increasing the amount of stamp duty payable for non-UK residents – done in an attempt to take the heat out of the property market. If we are to give the economy the much-needed boost it needs, what we actually need is to reduce the burden of stamp duty across the wider UK housing market.

Although we still have Brexit to contend with, housing must continue to be a key priority for the Conservatives. People are of course still moving. Buying and selling property doesn’t simply stop because the UK is leaving the EU or there has been an election – there are often overriding reasons for moving, whether to be closer to a good school, better childcare or the need to upsize or downsize.

Yet it is quite clear that if our Government wants to see a more fluid property market, which is moving at all levels, then it needs to provide far greater support to key demographics such as first-time buyers, young families and downsizers.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions: “In many ways, today’s result shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The Conservative Party’s main election pledge has been to ‘get Brexit done’, and the result suggests people are longing for the issue to be resolved come 31stJanuary 2020. What’s more, a majority government means we’re less likely to see a legislative deadlock in Westminster as has been the case since the last election.

For the property market, this is good news. Investors have been yearning for greater certainty and while national house prices have been steadily rising as a result of sustained demand, many have adopted a wait and see approach before committing to a real estate purchase. This result provides some much-needed clarity, and I’d expect to see an increase in property transactions over the coming months.

There are plenty of question marks hanging over the newly-elected government. When will the long overdue budget be delivered? Will there be changes to taxes like stamp duty? How will the housing crisis be addressed? I hope the Prime Minister addresses these questions and does not let Brexit continue to overshadow pressing national issues.

For now, at least, all eyes are turned to the end of January when Boris Johnson’s commitment to deliver Brexit will be put to the ultimate test.”

Jerald Solis, Business Development and Acquisitions Director of Experience Invest: “Despite winning a majority, the Conservative party should view this only as a minor victory. Whilst this was dubbed a ‘Brexit Election’, the public has made it clear that other pressing issues must be pushed to the forefront of the newly elected government’s agenda, such as the housing crisis.

Research from Experience Invest has shown that just 11% of consumers had faith in Boris Johnson’s previous government to solve the problem. So, the question now is how his new government will ensure the appropriate measures are put in place to ensure more people are able to jump onto the property ladder. From the promise to build 29,000 affordable homes, to simplified shared ownership and help to buy loans, the public will be expecting creative action.

One of the main public concerns will now be whether the government will meet the Brexit deadline of 31st January or seek another extension. After all, with over half (53%) of consumers Experience Invest surveyed agreeing that prolonging Brexit is counterproductive to solving the housing crisis, we cannot let Brexit overshadow pressing national issues that have been ignored for far too long.”

Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank, said: “The Conservative Party has won a majority of just under 80 seats in the UK general election. As a result, the UK is likely to leave the European Union on 31 January, with a vote in Parliament and a Queen’s Speech expected before Christmas.

This will, for the time being, end the uncertainty of a no-deal Brexit and pave the way for the release of some of the pent-up demand that has built in property markets in recent years. The extent to which this translates into transaction activity in the short-term will depend on the size of the pricing expectation gap between buyers and sellers.

Supply is likely to rise as political uncertainty recedes and private and public spending stimulate the UK economy. This will put downwards pressure on prices, however some vendors may expect a bounce in prices, which may create a stand-off between buyers and sellers as the market re-prices.

A shortage of supply in the lettings market may be further exacerbated as owners attempt to capitalise on any perceived ‘bounce’ and list their property on the sales market, which would put upwards pressure on rental values.”

Randeesh Sandhu, CEO of Urban Exposure said:“The Conservative majority delivered at the General Election is the best result for the UK property sector. They are clearly the party that has been and looks set to continue to support home ownership with a series of initiatives in their manifesto focussed on supporting first time buyers, such as the proposed mortgage deposit scheme.

We expect the housebuilding market to also be boosted by a resurgent UK economy in 2020, particularly as and when Brexit is resolved. The RICS survey yesterday showed the property industry believes getting Brexit done will trigger surge in housing market and we very much subscribe to that view. The prospect of a trade deal will have a positive impact across supply chains, as well on demand, as greater certainty breeds improved confidence throughout the sector. Although the timing of any deal is clearly not confirmed, the UK economy and property sector starts from a position of strength, with the ongoing growth in wages outpacing inflation which, in turn, should keep interest rates at record lows. All this adds up to healthy picture for UK housing demand.”

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CORINTHIA LONDON SELLS LUXURY PENTHOUSE FOR £10M ON ONE CONDITION

The perfect night’s sleep costs £10,750,000 apparently, according to one lucky person who purchased the penthouse of the Corinthia London as long as it was furnished with a Hypnos Mattress…

For most guests, the perfect night’s sleep is priceless, but as Corinthia London recently found, £10 million pounds is a good place to open the bidding.

The London based hotel, which was designed by G.A Design and recently won Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, secured the £10,750,000 sale of its luxury penthouse on one condition – that every bed in the suite would be furnished with a Hypnos mattress along with the hotel’s luxury linen and throws. Once the stipulation was accepted, the multi-millionaire buyer confirmed the sale within 72 hours.

According to the Evening Standard, the businessman who purchased the property had previously viewed properties around Mayfair and Chelsea, but opted for The Corinthia because that is where he had enjoyed his best nights’ rest.

The purchase of the 3,703 sq ft trophy home is ‘the biggest deal in Whitehall in the last five years’ according to Simon Deen, Director & Partner at Aston Chase, the estate agents who managed the sale.

Chris Ward, Group Marketing Director at Hypnos Beds, said: “We are renowned for supplying high quality beds to some of the world’s most stunning, luxury hotels, helping them to offer an amazing sleep experience to their guests. This particular negotiation is testament to the long-lasting affect that a Hypnos bed can have on a guest, in this case, clinching a multi-million-pound sale.”

Hoteliers looking to achieve this level of comfort and satisfaction can look no further than Hypnos. The bedmaker’s commitment to the perfect night’s sleep goes far beyond comfort and encompasses its long-running commitment to sustainability.

As the world’s first carbon neutral bedmaker, Hypnos’ mattresses and beds are 100 per cent foam free and use only natural and sustainable fibres that are 100% recyclable at the end of their life and are free from harmful and allergy-related chemicals.

For more information on how you can bring the perfect night’s sustainable sleep for your guests or residents, visit the Hypnos website.

Hypnos is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

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TERRACE HOUSE IN LONDON’S POSH PRIMROSE HILL COMBINES PERIOD CHARM WITH MODERN AMENITIES.

This quintessential period home is on the market at £6.49 million.

A quintessential period terrace house in London’s posh Primrose Hill is on the market with an asking price of £6.49 million (US$8.5 million).

The period spread—which was listed at the end of October with Aston Chase—perfectly matches its neighbors with its traditional brick facade, sash windows and cast- iron balcony.

But while the exterior may be traditional, the interior of the five-story home is far more contemporary.

The 3,406-square-foot property’s lower ground level, or garden level, is the hub of the home and is fitted with a modern open-plan kitchen, a dining area and a family room, with doors leading out into the garden.

Upstairs is a drawing room with a marble fireplace, bespoke shuttered-windows and original cornicing details along with a study overlooking the garden. There are also six bedrooms, including a master suite with a dressing room, and the house is topped with a private roof terrace.

“Gloucester Avenue is a beautiful family home, providing the quintessential Primrose Hill lifestyle that is so popular with buyers,” Howard Kayman, associate director of house sales at Aston Chase, said in a news release.

“This home balances period features with modern amenities and is well located for residents to enjoy the best the area has to offer. Given the property’s location, appeal and preserved original features, we anticipate this house to be very sought-after,” Mr. Kayman said.

Primrose Hill, in northwest London, is a village-like area known for its rows of terrace houses named for the hilltop park it surrounds that has panoramic views over the city.

Mansion Global could not determine who owns the home.

In Pictures

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ASTON CHASE NAMES TWO NEW ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS

Howard Kayman and Simon Rosenblatt have been promoted.

Top-end London estate agency Aston Chase has promoted two of its stalwarts to Associate Director level.

Howard Kayman (pictured on the right) has been with the firm for 22 years, working in the House Sales department since 1997.

Simon Rosenblatt (left) has been in Aston Chase’s Flat Sales department for the last 12 years. He’s brokered more than £800m-worth of deals since joining Mark Pollack’s firm in 2007.

Both Kayman and Rosenblatt have been heavily involved in the agency’s charitable sidelines. Kayman even set a Guinness World Record (unwittingly) in 2014, for solo 24-hour endurance karting – raising over £30,000 for Help for Heroes in the process. He’s also down multiple Norwood Cycling Challenges. Rosenblatt co-Chairs the annual Norwood Poker 100 tournament (which routinely raises £50k+ for the charity), and has completed four marathons, 12 half-marathons and a few of the bike rides for good measure.

Mark Pollack, Director and Co-founder at Aston Chase: “Aston Chase are proud to announce the appointments of both Howard Kayman and Simon Rosenblatt as Associate Directors. Simon and Howard are amongst the top agents operating in prime Central London and have consistently demonstrated a desire to provide the best possible service to our clients in a friendly, professional and enthusiastic fashion.”

Howard Kayman, Associate Director at Aston Chase: “I am thrilled to have been appointed as an Associate Director atAston Chase. Having been a member of the team for over 22 years I feel part of ‘the Aston Chase family’ and am looking forward to continuing my career in this new and exciting capacity.”

Simon Rosenblatt, Associate Director at Aston Chase: “I am proud of my contribution over the past 12 years working alongside my colleagues all of whom are leading figures in the industry. In my new role as an Associate Director I am looking forward to continuing our team’s success and to further progressing my own career at Aston Chase.”

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ASTON CHASE QUARTERLY REPORT, Q3 2019

We are looking back over Aston Chase’s third quarter 2019 activity at a unique time in British politics. Brexit has now been delayed twice, and we’re counting down to the third General Election in four and a half years. Depending on who the next Prime Minister is, we’ll either be likely leaving the EU by the end of January, or following yet another period of re-negotiation, voting in a second referendum.

However despite a continuation of political and economic uncertainty throughout the summer months, we nevertheless saw a surprisingly high level of activity – a remarkable 120% increase in total sales concluded compared to the same period in 2018 (£77m vs £35m), and an 63% increase compared to Q2 of 2019 (£77m vs £47m). This showed that despite the prevailing circumstances, London remained a place of relative global stability, and of course a world class centre for education, amenities and transport. A total of sixteen deals were concluded, with nine exchanging in September alone.

In terms of buyer demographics, we concluded 25% of these deals to British buyers (down from 60% in Q2), 25% to Hong Kong buyers and the remainder to buyers from China, Australia, the Middle East and Switzerland.

The main takeaways from this period were;

  • The continued influx of Hong Kong based buyers in to the London market, due to both extreme political uncertainty and exchange rate gains for non-Sterling buyers
  • International buyers in general taking advantage of both exchange rate gains and price corrections in the London market
  • Domestic buyers cautiously continuing their return to the market, albeit only for long term purchases at prices which reflect not only where the market currently is, but also factoring in further potential uncertainty.
  • An increasing number of enquiries from non-property portal sources
  • An increased number of deals outside areas which we would have traditionally considered to be our core operating post codes

On the last two points above, we have written before about the increasing influence of Google, Facebook and Instagram on property advertising. It’s a trend which we’re seeing as increasingly instrumental in both how we market our clients properties, and how we think about overall marketing budgets in relation to both print media and the two main property portals, Zoopla and Rightmove. Taking the last quarter as an example, if 75% of buyers are from overseas, and many of them aren’t aware of the main property portals, then it makes sense to try and focus marketing spend on driving traffic to our own website, and that means utilising both social media and Google more than ever before.

In a similar vein, once a foreign buyer has found their way to Aston Chase, thanks to semi-open source platforms like www.lonres.com, excellent inter agency relationships and more than ever, the social media presence of an increasing number of brokers, finding these buyers properties outside of our traditional core post codes has become easier. Our recent deal at The Corinthia Apartments was a perfect example of all of the above situations in play, and one which we are expecting to see more of in the future. Rather than deal with a multitude of broker, buyers are increasingly looking for a single person to cover their property needs – as a lot of them are used to in their own countries.

To conclude, whilst some domestic buyers have tentatively dipped their toes back in to the market so far in 2019, there is undoubtedly still a good amount of pent up demand from more cautious buyers. Whilst thus far they have lacked the confidence to buy due to ongoing political and economic uncertainty, the result of the General Election could well change this. Whilst tight supply has become more of an issue as 2019 has progressed, this might free up if vendors feel that the market is moving again.

On the flip side, foreign buyers have had a decent run at a relatively inexpensive London market. With all the major political parties announcing an increase in Stamp Duty for foreign buyers, we might see this trend slow in the early part of 2020, especially if there’s a strengthening of Sterling against the Dollar and the Euro.

Time will tell, but if the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected!

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BENTLEY PICKS £22.5M ST JOHN’S WOOD MANSION FOR CENTENARY CAR EVENT

Bentley Motors recently rented-out a well-known mansion in St John’s Wood to launch the latest iteration of its Flying Spur car, providing a significant boost to the property’s marketing campaign.

The Flying Spur event, held at 100 Hamilton Terrace, marked the centenary celebrations of Bentley Motors. It was attended by showbiz faces including Zara Martin, Laura Whitmore, Ian Sterling, Callum Best and Elle Eyre.

Aston Chase brokered the rental deal to Bentley, continuing a track record of high-profile marketing occasions at the 11,429 square foot house. 100 Hamilton Terrace is no stranger to big parties: the property hosted a lavish tie-in bash with Frieze Art Fair when the newly-refurbed mansion was launched for sale back in 2014; the ground floor has been used by Maddox Gallery to exhibit artwork by David Jarrow, RETNA and Russell Young, and jeweller G Collins & Sons has shown off its wares on the premises.

No.100 was acquired by its current owner ten years ago, and comprehensively refurbished. It was put up for sale five years later, in 2014, sporting a £32m asking price. The property was subsequently (2016) rented out via Beauchamp Estates for a 12-month let at £1.35m; Aston Chase says that the mansion “has been rented to a series of high-profile individuals” over the last couple of years. It was relaunched onto the sales market in September 2019, with a much-reduced asking price of £22.5m via Aston Chase and Beauchamp.

It’s also still available for rental, asking £25,000 per week.

The house features an impressive entertaining room (which was transformed into a car showroom for the Bentley centenary event), as well as a what estate agents describe as “one of the best 5-star hotel-like swimming pool, spa and leisure complexes ever built in the capital.” It comes with an attached mews house and a gated driveway with off-street parking.

Richard Bryce of Aston Chase: “Aston Chase are pleased that they could be part of the Bentley Motors Flying Spur showcase and the company’s centenary celebrations. Bentley is a brand synonymous with British luxury, craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind product and 100 Hamilton Terrace provides the same offering. It was therefore fitting for Bentley Motors to choose 100 Hamilton Terrace to launch their exceptional fleet of Flying Spur automobiles and the showcase event held in the mansion was a great success.”

In Pictures: 100 Hamilton Terrace & Bentley centenary event

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