How the Chinese are looking at UK property post-lockdown | Catharine Che

Catharine Che| 车倩毓 Head of China Region

Regarding the effects of the Covid-19 Lockdown on incoming post-secondary student activity from China to the UK, existing students are making-do with online classes but have expressed missing out on the quality and efficiency of classroom teaching, in particular face to face communication with teachers and classmates. We are receiving questions about whether Chinese families will continue to send their children to the UK for education – and the answer is YES. However, it is too soon to tell the quantity.

In the short term, Coronavirus may have dampened our will to travel worldwide, and we do expect a certain reluctance to take long-haul flights. The English may fear going to the country of origin, and the Chinese may fear coming to the European hotspot where we are still in the throes of battling the virus. In the long term, there are other socio-economic and political factors at play. However, we are seeing a particularly swelling level of enquiries from Hong Kong looking at the UK as a potential “safe-haven” with the political uncertainties and the welcoming gesture made by Boris Johnson on the promises of citizenship.

For those students and families looking to emigrate out of China, achieving an education in the UK is still a desirable and valuable option. However; if we are considering Hong Kong’s situation with respect to political changes enforced by China, we may see a new wave of immigration via education.

From the Chinese perspective, UK has performed incredibly well to offer support during the lockdown and their prevention methods were also successful in flattening the curve. So will we see more Chinese students arriving to the UK post-Coronavirus any time soon? It might be a while.

Our China Desk has made a significant sale of £12 million over the lockdown period, and have continued to make strides with closing property investment deals where virtual viewings were sufficient to satisfy investor needs. While we know the bigger investors have been relatively minimally impacted, the investors with a more modest budget will wait to hedge their bets till the time they can fly over to view in person. We continue to provide a wealth of information, promoting our virtual viewings and virtual reality options to Chinese enquiries coming in from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vancouver; thus they gain a UK Sotheby’s International Realty education in UK real estate for both clients and buyers without the classroom setting.

London Dock, London

£1,290,000

2 Bedrooms

Surrounded by a rewarding mix of modern style and iconic history, London Dock is situated in the heart of the capital, moments from Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, St Katharine Docks and the City. With a number of London underground and Docklands Light Railway stations within walking distance, London Dock offers quick and easy access to London’s main financial centres of the City and Canary Wharf, as well as the exciting cultural and creative neighbourhoods of Shoreditch, Whitechapel and Bermondsey.

Wapping is a truly authentic destination, filled with independent cafés and restaurants, which has for hundreds of years been a vibrant part of London life. The Prospect of Whitby – London’s oldest riverside pub – was popular with Charles Dickens, diarist Samuel Pepys and renowned artists Turner and Whistler. By the river, Hermitage Community Moorings attracts sailing barges, tugs and small boats, keeping alive Wapping’s river heritage.

Properties with Video Tours

The Tower, St Georges Wharf, London, SW8

£2,750,000
3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,252 Sq. Ft.

Video Tour
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Romney Street, Westminster , London, SW1P

£2,750,000
3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,252 Sq. Ft.

Video Tour
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Effects of Covid-19 on the UK Lettings Market

James Somers MARLA
Head of Lettings, London

The effects on the property market due to Covid-19 have been clear; with the country on lockdown since the end of March there has certainly been less activity across the UK housing market. However, since the lockdown measures were lifted for estate agents last month, we have seen an increase in lettings activity and it’s clear that people are preparing themselves for life after lockdown – a massive boost for the lettings market and one we certainly all needed!

At UK SIR, we saw lettings enquiries increase by over 130% from April to May, echoing our predictions of pent up demand during the lockdown period which put almost everything property related on hold. This huge increase is partly due to the fall in demand we saw at the end of March, but this is an extremely positive change and a sign that demand for rental properties is growing much more than sales.

Despite this returning demand and rise in enquiries, while rents initially remained fairly steady, new reports suggest that achieved rent levels look likely to come down and we have already seen Landlords accepting lower offers to ensure they have a tenant and eliminate any vacancy period even if this means taking a lower rent. June through to September is typically the busiest period of the year for lettings agents but with travel restrictions still in place, we have seen hardly any corporate relocations since Q1 and the uncertainty for students surrounding their studying means the flurry of international students we normally see at this time of the year is down as well. With that said, people will always need a place to live and with the wider impact of Covid-19 on the sales market, we expect to see more would be buyers filling the void and opting to rent instead with lettings being a more stable option as the long term effects of this pandemic become more clear. For that reason I expect the lettings market to remain buoyant with more activity predicted over the following months.

Those who are looking are planning for every eventuality and the lock-down has put peoples living situations into perspective with many revaluating what they actually need and what’s most important to them. Many of the enquiries we are now seeing have requests for outside space and a home working space which shows the shift in people’s needs as working from home for many is likely to continue for some time. With the fear this could happen again at the back of many people’s minds, they want to know they are prepared for another lock-down and have the most comfortable home environment possible.

This is also evident through the increase in activity from our Country Office. The demand for country rental properties is still strong with many London families looking to either up sticks and relocate to more rural areas with good connections into London or to acquire a second home where they can all live more comfortably without feeling on top of each other in their smaller London residences which might have little to no outside space. With the “staycation” also expected to be more popular this summer with families opting to stay in the UK rather than take the risk of traveling abroad, we expect to see many people taking out short-term holiday lets with houses coming with pools and tennis courts being the most popular.

During the lockdown it was important that we did not become complacent and were there to support our clients throughout this difficult time. While the country was on lockdown we continued to advise and prepare our landlords for when the lockdown is lifted. This was a great opportunity for many of them to get their properties ready whether that be finishing off the renovations, tidying up the garden or as we saw for many – organising virtual reality tours of their homes. We wanted to ensure we were putting our clients in the best possible position to capitalise on the returning activity as soon as social distancing measures were lifted and it was thanks to this effort that meant we were ready come 13th May, with multiple offers already agreed.

Lets for the Summer in the English Country Side

Main Road, Farthinghoe, BrackleyNorthamptonshire, NN13

6 Bedrooms | 6,623 Sq. Ft.

£10,000 per week

Abbey Lodge is a uniquely historical house in a desirable location. The house has a rich history, and dates predominantly from the 15th and 16th centuries. Farthinghoe is a rural south Northamptonshire village close to the border of north Oxfordshire. The village has a primary school, The Fox public house/restaurant, repair garage and parish church. There is good communication with intercity train services from Bicester North to London Marylebone and access to the M40 at either J10 for the south or J11 for the north.

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The Ridge, Neston, Wiltshire, SN13

6 Bedrooms

£6,923 per week

Enjoy your first view of this traditional country house set within 12 acres from the gravelled sweeping driveway, the solid wooden door giving access to the traditional hall with flagstone floors and high ceilings, step into a cosy TV room with comfy armchairs, cushions and colourful throws, the perfect space to lose yourself in a movie. Passing back through the dining hall a larger lounge warmed by the open fire, welcomes you with comfortable seating for all that come to stay. The indoor pool with heated pool and changing rooms is perfect whatever the season with by folding doors that open onto the gardens.

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Farm Lane, New Yatt, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29

Bedroom

£4,000 per week

This luxury farmhouse is the perfect place from which to explore the rolling Cotswold countryside whilst still being close to the market towns of Witney, Woodstock and the City of Oxford. The farm has plenty of space with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 3 reception rooms and a superb Johnny Grey designed kitchen. New Yatt is a small village situated 2 miles from the bustling market town of Witney. Woodstock and Blenheim Palace are 7 miles away and the “city of dreaming spires” Oxford 12 miles.

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Exquisite London Lets

Turner House, 6 Exchange Court, Covent Garden, London, WC2R

2 Bedrooms | 806 Sq. Ft.

£1,200 per week

Presenting this modern two-bedroom, two-bathroom first floor lateral apartment with a large semi-open plan living room complete with a modern bespoke kitchen. The apartment is beautifully presented having been recently redecorated throughout and further benefits from access to a balcony from the living room. Turner House is perfectly located in the heart of Covent Garden and is moments from the Covent Garden Piazza benefiting from the plethora of shops, bars and restaurants the area has to offer.

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Top 10 Tips On How To Dress your Property and Doing At Home Viewings

During this period of Stay At Home and social distancing, doing our day jobs and showing people around your homes in person is no longer possible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t showcase your home and introduce it to perspective tenants and buyers. With the high-quality cameras available on most modern smartphones, shooting your own home video walk through or conducting live video calls couldn’t be easier, so I wanted to share some tips and advice to guide you through making your own videos so you can help us help you! Click on the images below to explore.

1. Remove all the clutter

The golden rule of home staging: get rid of all the clutter in your home. All floors and surfaces should be clutter-free and now that you have the time, your cupboards should be neatly organised. Storage is a big requirement and prospective Tenants are likely to ask to see inside.

2. Good lighting is essential

Make sure curtains are pulled right back and blinds right up to allow for plenty of light to flood your rooms. You also want to make sure you are shooting your video or arranging your video call during the day rather than at night to really show off the natural light in your home. For any darker rooms or spaces, turn on a light to help brighten them up.

3. Leave doors open

This is a great way for light to get into those darker areas of the home like corridors. Keep doors wide open so you can easily manoeuvre through the property and don’t have to worry about that creaky hinge interrupting you when filming.

4. Make your bed look inviting

It might sound obvious but plump up pillows and cushions and put a throw over the end of the bed for added cosiness. Given that the average human sleeps for 8 hours a day, this is a room they will use a lot.

 

5. Don’t ignore the outside areas

Coming from an agent who has done plenty of these myself, a true tour starts with a view from the street as ‘curb appeal’ means a lot to people. If the property has a garden or balcony, make sure you show that and not simply through the window as this is a key asset and often comes at a premium for any prospective tenant or buyer and should be emphasised in your video.

6. Camera settings

Check to see whether your phones video is set to the highest quality setting as a low-quality video will just frustrate the viewer. Remember, if someone is going to make an offer relying entirely on your video, they must be able to clearly see the content.

7. Know your route through the home

If you are recording a video of your home, have an idea of your route before you start filming, so the video runs smoothly with no sudden changes of direction because you’ve missed something.

8. Don’t move too fast!

It’s important you move slow enough for anyone viewing the video or viewing live through a video call to see everything clearly. Do a test run first and view it for yourself so you can see if there’s any areas where you are moving too quickly or not showing something clearly enough.

9. Positioning is everything

When scanning the room, it is important to do this from at least a couple of different positions in the room. I would always advise doing this as soon as you have walked through the door and again from the opposite corner scanning from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling to show the room in its entirety.

10. Attention to detail

Make sure you highlight and emphasise any unique or charming features of this property as this could be what sets your home out against the rest. Whether it’s a stunning period fireplace, hand painted wallpaper or your home media system – zoom in and share the love as these are great selling points.


James Somers, MARLA
Head of Residential Lettings
m +44 (0) 7849 399 086
james.somers@sothebysrealty.co.uk
www.sothebysrealty.co.uk