James Bailey, Chief Executive of Henry & James writes about a surge in demand for lateral apartments, the Belgravia property market entering an exciting new phase and a new wave of motivated buyers.
September is always a busy month in the property calendar and 2018 is no different. The newspaper headlines are bound to be dominated by Brexit this autumn, but while we are hoping that the politicians will reach a realistic solution, we are certainly not awaiting developments in Westminster and Brussels. There is too much else going on – much of it on our own doorstep.
Newly pedestrianised Motcomb Street is rapidly becoming a must-visit destination, and as renovation continues apace on the Pantechnicon and Halkin Arcade, there is increased interest in properties in the immediate area. Belgravia is already one of London’s most sought-after destinations and looks set to strengthen its position in the capital with its wealth of restaurants, cafes and eateries.
There are plenty of genuine, motivated buyers, many of them from overseas, taking advantage of the weaker pound. We have noticed that Middle Eastern buyers are extending their search this summer from Knightsbridge to Belgravia and Mayfair.
Buyers are naturally following Brexit developments, but they are not discussing stamp duty as much as they were a year ago. They seem to have factored in the higher rates of duty, offset them in their minds against the value of the pound, and moved on. That is excellent news for the prime central London market.
Property prices naturally bounce back. And spring could be the perfect time, subject to Brexit developments. Savvy investors are certainly operating on that basis, taking advantage of the reductions in asking prices to identify long-term investments.
There is very high demand for properties on Belgrave Square, Eaton Square and Wilton Crescent. Yet we have also seen a surge in demand for large lateral properties and for ones that need extensive renovation. Some of them are being renovated to a very high standard, so developers can realise their capital when the optimum time comes to sell.
In summary, we are entering an exciting period, with plenty of quality properties on our books and more to follow in the autumn. The new-look Motcomb Street suddenly feels like the epicentre of a resurgent Belgravia.