Discussing the state and outlook for London housing as U.K. nears the end of lockdown restrictions.
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Q1 has indeed been a much busier than expected market for sales. The key drivers being the opportunity for domestic buyers to come into the market with a fewer number of overseas buyers. The lack of travel and restrictions of quarantines has meant that people from overseas have held back on visiting for investment. This however is leading to a pent-up demand of overseas buyers waiting to pounce once these restrictions lift, we will have further updates on this on 17th May.
The Stamp Duty deadlines are approaching, and buyers, agents and lawyers have probably not been busier in terms of people wanting to beat the deadline. Come the end of June the first deadline will be here, with the phasing then continuing over the next three months.
Hong Kong buyers are continuing to be prevalent in the UK market, and we expect this to continue and grow as the travel restrictions lift.
This quarter alone we have sold a high number of properties including a bulk sale for £15m, the Iconic Lost House by Sir David Adjaye, £6.5m, a house in Hampstead for £16m, and Eaton Place £4.25m. The current level of properties under offer is at its highest yet, and these sales are primarily a result of lifestyle changes, investment and “life after lockdown.” The key requirements that people continue to request are space (indoor and outdoor), light and views. Lockdown restrictions are lifting, and we can now meet clients for outdoor lunches, visit pubs and begin high street shopping again. In the business world, JP Morgan have announced that employees should be back in their offices by July, which only emphasizes the importance of the continuation of City living!
A recent government announcement was presented by the media as the most significant milestone in property ownership in decades. The answer to the question in the title should therefore be an emphatic “Yes” but is that a little premature?
The rights of leaseholders to extend a lease or to acquire the freehold are well established. The process is currently governed by the provisions of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended).
Further to the government announcement in January 2021 (following Law Commission recommendations), the statutory landscape in England will change.
The timing and to what extent however remains to be fully determined.
Abolition of “marriage value”, being a sum that is linked to the increase in value of the property after a lease extension and payable to the landlord where the unexpired term of the lease is 80 years or less.
The right to extend the term of the lease of both flats and houses to 990 years at a zero ground rent.
The valuation of the premium payable will be simplified and an online calculator introduced.
Leaseholders would be able to agree a voluntary restriction on their development of the property (adding a storey for example) in order to avoid payment of development value.
A right for leaseholders to buy out the ground rent without having to extend the lease.
The future ground rent in new residential leases to be zero
The government announcement has undoubtedly placed landlords, leaseholders and buyers in a difficult position.
There is no timetable in place for the enactment of the proposals. There is no guarantee that the legislation will reflect the proposals. The proposals will inevitably be subject to scrutiny and challenge by freeholders on human rights grounds.
For example, there are freehold owning charities who rely on the income from ground rents and premiums (including marriage value) to fund charitable initiatives – how will this income be replaced?
A leaseholder with a lease that is approaching the 80 year mark ought to take urgent advice on their options as a decision to wait for the reforms could have significant financial implications.
Leaseholders of shorter leases ought to undertake a very careful analysis of the possible scenarios and the likely financial outcome of each.
For instance, the premium to extend a short lease in Prime Central London could be several hundred thousands of pounds (or more).
To delay an extension whilst awaiting the reforms could significantly increase the premium payable. If marriage value was to be abolished in the reforms this might negate the increase in premium.
There is however no certainty that the marriage value will be abolished entirely meaning there would be significant risk in deciding to wait for the reforms in such circumstances.
We would recommend that discussions take place at an early stage with an experienced lawyer and valuation surveyor to consider the various outcomes so that each route can be properly evaluated. There may also be opportunity for offers to be made to landlords who do not wish to wait for the outcome of the reforms.
There is a lot more to come in this story. Assuming the government does press ahead it could be 2-3 years before we know the extent of the changes to the statutory landscape.
If this is a subject you would like to learn more about please get in touch to schedule a call with David or myself.
The first quarter of this year has been extremely busy in the residential market, with our team agreeing significant sales on a weekly basis with both our locally based clients, and we have naturally also seen an increase in remote purchases from our international clientele.
As we head positively towards air corridors reopening and with a large backlog of interest from international buyers planning to fly in to London we are expecting a highly active Q2 & Q3 in sales.
We source opportunities, and carry out the due diligence for clients wishing to invest in property. We help both people who are just starting their property journey and others who are looking to expand their existing property portfolio.
This involves supplying clients with detailed insights into how different types of properties or investment strategies work in the current market. We endeavour to help our investors to build up a pension, create an additional income steam or simply leave a legacy.
We can also help manage all types of property projects.
Finding properties with real potential for a competitive price, is becoming increasingly difficult. As specialists in this area, we have the experience, skills, knowledge and network of connections to help.
Existing landlords are often extremely busy, particularly if they are managing their own properties. By using our invest service, investors benefit from working with professional, reputable, passionate property people who know the local market and have access to great deals.
Sotheby’s UK Invest takes away the time to research your next opportunity.
In many cases we also let and manage our investors’ existing properties, so they have real confidence in our services.
The biggest and most important difference is that we use our own in-house team to let and manage the properties that have been sourced for investors. That way, we gain a deep understanding of how a property will perform over time. It means we can give a much more consistent and accurate overview of an investment rather than just focus on purchase prices and market statistics.
A property buyers experience is often limited to seeking out properties for purchase, without the long-term commitment to investors.
In fact, you shouldn’t wait.
With the UK Government about to levy the Foreign Buyer’s Tax, letting us source your next rental investment now would save you money.
The UK Stamp Duty Holiday has been extended, knowing that buyers are continuing to snap up properties in order to save on stamp duty. This means there’s a good amount of high quality properties on the market, and you don’t have to wade through the listings yourself.
趕快聯繫 Catharine Che 車倩毓
Head of Asia Department 亞洲區總負責人
Residential Development & Investment 住宅項目及投資
世界富豪都愛的繁華衛星城：Esher, Weybridge, Ascot, Cobham
l趕快聯繫 Catharine Che 車倩毓
Head of Asia Department 亞洲區總負責人
Residential Development & Investment 住宅項目及投資
My work experience at UK Sotheby’s International Realty has both been extremely enjoyable and hugely educational. My first experience in a working environment has taught me that collaborative interaction is vital when running a successful international business and how positivity in the working environment reflects company performance. The international network of Sotheby’s has also given me insight into how multinational companies run and the strength of global brand exposure.
Formulating a 3-page market report, allowed me to properly investigate the changes occurring within the real estate market and how social factors such as the pandemic not only effect the number of quarterly enquiries but alters client behaviour. Using my attained knowledge on the market I was then able to conduct property valuations, taking into consideration market strength, surrounding property price and location to provide them with a suitable value of how much their property is worth. After conducting the valuations, I then formulated a clear, structured document for clients portraying the pricings and a step by step guide of future proceedings. I was also involved in the formation of content creation and management for Facebook and LinkedIn using a platform called Hootsuite, using social media outlets to target potential buyers. Developing my marketing skills further, I received training on a design platform built for the brand that allows agents to create digital, print and social media campaigns all in one place. Using this program, I created several brochures for newly listed properties and individual agents as well as office window cards offering key information on the properties.
Shadowing viewings with both sales and lettings brokers enabled me to firstly understand the techniques used when interacting with clients but also served as a great way for me to discover new areas of London. I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to Guy and all the team for all your help. It has been an amazing experience and has been a great start to my year out. All the best.
For more information about the program:
Media Requests for UK Sotheby’s International Realty:
Deborah Battsek: firstname.lastname@example.org
Britain’s Most Expensive Houses follows top agents from UK Sotheby’s International Realty as they offer insight on some of the most spectacular properties on the market. Channel 4 picked up on the need to provide a little escapism whilst also acknowledging a world-wide trend as people sought properties with more space in light of the pandemic and the stamp duty holiday. The documentary will air at 8PM on the 28th of December.
Emergencies should be reported immediately. Tenants of our currently managed properties have been notified of the process via email.
Questions? Contact us to manage your property:
Andy Berthier (MARLA)
Head of Property Management – Residential Lettings
D: +44 (0) 207 495 9590
E: +44 (0) 203 131 0080 (Emergency out of hours)
To celebrate the partnership between Difference Coffee and UK Sotheby’s International Realty, we were delighted to offer the opportunity to win a collection of Difference Coffee’s Classic Collection, the best selling boxes (valued at £99). These coffee pods are Nespresso-compatible capsules, and used by some of the best restaurants in the world. Simply sign up to the mailing list using the form below for your chance to win and don’t forget to share the contest with a friend.
Entries were accepted until 20th December, 2020 and the winners will be notified shortly after. One winner will be chosen at random. Prize is non-transferable and must be fulfilled before 31st March, 2021. By entering this contest, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age.