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While much has been written about the UK 2015 general election causing uncertainty in the central London prime property market, international demand remains strong, it is claimed. Independent property buying agency Black Brick says it has completed on a dozen separate transactions for investment clients in recent weeks, all with budgets below £2 million and in the past month it has also signed new clients from Brazil, Egypt, and Qatar with budgets from £2 million to £4 million. ‘We continue to see interest from a range of buyers, including both investors and owner occupiers. Other developments of note include a significant rise in Russian interest across both the rental and sales markets in recent weeks,’ said Camilla Dell, Black Brick managing partner. ‘The return of the Russians comes despite the collapse of the rouble against the pound. And while the sharp drop in the price of oil clearly has its own implications for net wealth in the Middle East, West Africa and Russia, the strength of the dollar does at least offer some compensation for potential buyers of prime central London property with US dollar assets,’ she explained. She also pointed out that Sterling's 9% drop against the so called 'greenback' and a fall of similar magnitude against the Chinese yuan since the middle of the year is giving buyers in these increasingly significant asset pools a welcome currency discount. ‘We expect Chinese buyers in particular to dominate the high end of the prime property market in central London in 2015. We also expect political concerns to continue to be a driver of overseas demand in 2015 and beyond,’ she added. However, for the domestic market, 2015 is likely to be a year of two very clearly defined halves split by the general election. ‘Should the Conservative party win the May 2015 election, we expect an extremely active London property market and the opportunity to drive a hard bargain with vendors will be significantly reduced if not lost all together. We believe the period between now and the general election may prove an attractive entry point to this property sector over the long term,’ said Dell. She does not expect a Labour victory to have a dramatic impact on London house prices, though some short term weakness in prices is likely. Hot spots for 2015 include Marylebone with its mix of high quality independent retailers and restaurants. Dell said that Marylebone has one of the best high streets in London and is conveniently located with elegant period housing stock and new developments. For investors the firm is tipping Maida Vale as one of the best areas in London to focus on in 2015. Overlooked by buyers in favour of neighbouring St John's Wood, Maida Vale looks extremely good value compared to its more expensive neighbours, according to Dell. She also pointed out that prices are still well below £1,500 per square foot and this is rare for an area with such excellent shops and transport links to central… Continue reading →
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