08 February 2018 - International Mortgage News | Partners News |

Thinking of investing in London?

Camilla Dell, Managing Partner at London’s premier buying agent, Black Brick, has given us an insight into which areas they feel are good value in 2018.Black bricks

IPF: Camilla, is the London prime property market as gloomy as some reports are suggesting?

It’s not all doom and gloom. We feel 2018 could present the ideal time to purchase residential property in London. Prices are now 16% below their previous peak, and whilst prices could fall further, there is evidence to suggest that prices are starting to bottom out and even increase in parts of prime central London. Knight Frank recently reported that prices grew 1.9% in the £5 million to £10 million part of the market during the course of 2017. It’s important to remember that the London property market is not a homogenous market – different parts of the market are doing different things. The combination of price falls in recent years coupled with signs of stabilisation present buying opportunities – not least in areas that buyers might have considered out of reach, or even over-priced, in recent years. If you’re able to buy in Zones 1 or 2, and pay less than £1,000 per foot, that represents good value, especially as medium- to long-term investment – it wouldn’t have been possible across great swathes of central London just a few years ago. In fact, I’d say that for investors with an eye to the future, it is an exciting time to gain a foothold in the sector.

IPF: Can you give some examples?

Houses in Pimilico, Westminster and Victoria are now below £1,000 sqft compared to almost £1,400 sqft in 2015, whilst in North Kensington houses are closer to the £800 sqft mark compared to £900 sq ft two years ago. As buying agents, we have been taking advantage of a weaker sales market, saving our clients significant amounts of money from asking prices. In 2017, we managed to save our clients almost 9% from asking prices when purchasing from a developer – the new build sector of the market presents a very interesting opportunity at the moment with developers keen to sell their remaining stock.

IPF: What else can we expect from 2018?

Quite rightly, buyers are still nervous about the purchasing in the capital; whilst the market is stabilising many are treading more carefully, conducting more research and seeking expert advice. With the hike in stamp duty over the past few years buying a property is a large transaction and one that you risk losing from if you make a mistake. As independent buying agents, we work on behalf of the buyer (unlike estate agents who work for the seller) and our role is to act as our clients trusted property advisor. We ensure that our clients are well informed, find the right property that meets with their brief, but also pay the lowest possible price. I think we can also expect to see more and more properties being sold off market this year as sellers are sensitive about having their properties openly advertised on web portals, not selling for long periods of time and having consecutive price drops in order to attract a buyer. In 2017, almost 40% of properties we sourced for our clients were off market – another key way in which add value to buyers.

IPF: Should buyers be offering the asking price?

Not if they are using a professional to negotiate. Before we submit an offer on a property for a client, we look very carefully at current market conditions, comparable sales in the area and importantly we find out who the seller is and what the motivation is behind the sale. Knowing who you are buying from is crucial to securing a good deal. For example, if the seller is a developer, or getting divorced or relocating, then we know they are motivated and are much more likely to negotiate on their asking price. On average we’ve been saving our clients 8% off asking prices. For one of my recent clients, we not only secured her an off-market property, but negotiated a price £300,000 below the asking price – which meant she spent over £1million less than she had budgeted for!

Head to Black Brick’s website to find out more about Camilla and her team. 

Established in 2007 by property expert Camilla Dell, Black Brick is a leading, award winning independent buying agency, which specialises in sourcing residential property for both owner occupiers and investors, property management, vacant care, rental search and managed sales services. Since its inception, the company’s unrivalled reputation and excellent service has led to the purchase of over £1 billion worth of property across the whole of London and the Home Counties.  In 2016, Black Brick celebrated a record financial year, tripling its turnover to over £3 million. The company has won multiple awards including ‘Best Buying Agency’ three years in a row for the Sunday Times Estate Agent of the Year Awards, Based in the heart of Mayfair, the eight-strong team provides property consultancy services across London and the Home Counties, acting for private individuals, property investors and corporate clients with budgets starting from £500,000 – £50m+. Its client base is both domestic and international with 60% coming from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, India, Russia and Europe and 40% UK domestic clients.

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