Why sourcing best-in-class properties has become even harder for buyers

April 2021 : PrimeResi

After the initial lockdown in March 2020, the Prime Central London market has taken most of us by surprise, with strong activity levels and prices holding and indeed increasing for certain types of properties across prime postcodes. We continue to see high levels of appetite for family houses especially in Notting Hill and Holland Park, and currently have searches in these areas across different price brackets.

Our clients are often citing a wish for a house which gives them a more desirable lifestyle, given many will be continuing to work full-time or part-time from home for the foreseeable future. Having the buzz of interesting amenities on your doorstep, whilst benefitting from access to beautiful green spaces in the form of a private communal garden or garden square is considered vital from a wellness perspective.

There is now a real lack of availability of best in class houses. Most of the decent houses have sold over the last year, and what remains is often either overpriced or substandard. In addition, the vast majority of new houses are entering the market quietly, with the very best frequently going under offer in competitive situations in just a couple of weeks. The £ per sq ft is being pushed to extraordinary levels for houses with key attributes, such as off-street parking and south or west facing gardens backing directly onto communal gardens.

The vast majority of new houses are entering the market quietly, with the very best frequently going under offer in competitive situations in just a couple of weeks

The key roads in Notting Hill are Lansdowne Road and Clarendon Road and the Kensington squares such as Edwardes Square are always in high demand. Being within striking distance of a number of good schools continues to be a huge draw and now that the trend for working from home looks set to continue, having access to a wide range of local independent shops, cafes and restaurants and the ability to enjoy the neighbourhood is of significant importance.

Given that we are firmly in a seller’s market, what does this mean for buyers?

The agency sector has undergone significant changes over the last five years or so, with more sales agents setting up independently which in turn has led to an increase in off- market space. As a direct consequence, there is so much more ground to cover with a search to ensure a thorough awareness of the entire market. So it really is about the very time-consuming process of picking up the phone and ensuring every single agent is aware of our client’s search.

We sourced an exceptional house recently for a British client on what is arguably the best road in Notting Hill. He had been searching for a year by himself prior to retaining us, and was very specific about buying a house on a particular stretch of about 15 houses which benefited from having a south facing garden directly onto the sought after communal garden. He was renting one of these houses, and we managed to source a house just a few doors down which was firmly off-market, negotiate and successfully exchange within just 3.5 weeks.

At the higher levels, the prime London market is discreet, complex and gossipy, and without representation, buyers can only ever access a small percentage of properties, whilst having very little visibility on pricing.

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