After studying Ancient History at University College London, Harry Berry took time out to achieve a long-standing goal of writing and completing a novel. His attentions then turned to property, which has always been a family interest.
His decision to join Henry & James, in his own words, was “I didn’t want to go into a corporate system and work for an agency where I would just be another statistic. What’s more is Henry & James is set in the epicentre of where I really wanted to work”.
He proved himself capable with a strong talent in selling property, as only two years after joining he has now been promoted to Sales Manager at the age of 24.
Being with the company now for over two years, how do you see the mansion tax affecting the prime central London market?
It’s already had an affect; it’s given buyers a strong negotiating stance, particularly around the £2m mark. The very threat has seen, if not a reduction in prices, then definitely a slow in growth.
If it were to come into affect there would certainly be a glut in new properties to the market, which would definitely cause a fall in values, simple supply and demand theory. As it is, there has already been an increase in supply.
How will that affect independent agents?
No more than it would affect any other agent, indeed the threat of mansion tax seems to have affected independents less than the larger agents. If anything it has worked in independents’ favour, providing us with more instructions because sellers are aware that in a tougher market, it’s the harder working agents, not necessarily the agents with the largest applicant pool, that get them the best possible price and deal.
Would that have an affect on international buyers planning to come to London?
Yes is the short answer. It would be interesting to see the full extent of the affect it has.
I suspect that it will not stop international buyers entering the London market per se, because to own a property in London is still something that a large proportion of the international population aspire to. But if the market is to dip a little because of mansion tax, it will have an affect on the number of international investors.
What is the international buyers market like at the moment? Who are they?
Currently it is as diverse as it has ever been. It is very hard to narrow the type of buyer down to one nationality even in a small area like Knightsbridge and Belgravia. It varies more obviously from property to property, for example a 3rd floor flat in Cadogan Gardens has been viewed mostly by Italians buyers, a top floor flat in Chesham Street has been seen mostly by buyers from Greece and the Middle East, and for two houses in Wilton Row the majority of interest has come from English and Canadian buyers.
Taking into consideration the increased popularity of online estate agents, what do you feel the general perception of traditional estate agents is and how would you change it?
The general perception of traditional estate agents is much as it has ever been. The perception of them has not changed; instead sellers have been offered an alternative by these online selling portals. Nobody has ever liked their estate agent in the same way they never liked their lawyer, or their banker. It is normal for people to think that they can do a better job on their own rather than employing somebody whose job they don’t necessarily fully understand. These online “sell-your-own-home” companies have given people an opportunity to test this, but the fact is these portals are already losing their popularity and if you ask any estate agent whether they would sell their property through one of these companies, they would always answer no. Just like a lawyer in need of a solicitor would not skimp when choosing one to represent them.Back to News