By Keith Gorny, Director
2011 marks my fifteenth year of working in the Notting Hill and Holland Park property market. Whilst only a tenth of the time Marsh & Parsons has been operating in the area, its been a sufficient enough time to have worked through a wide variety of challenges and opportunities. While there have been peaks and troughs throughout that time our area has enjoyed a sustained period of remarkable growth.
I still remember my first sale in 1996 of a Northumberland Place house and my being astounded by the £540,000 price it commanded. In 2006 we sold the same house for £1,825,000, and I have just valued it for 2011 at £2,450,000. The correlation between London’s success as a global financial centre and West London’s property values is well documented, but our specific area’s rate of capital appreciation is largely unmatched.
Of course Notting Hill had some catching up to do. Many of our area’s recent arrivals, whose residency has contributed so much to our area’s success, would be amazed to learn of the riots and civil unrest synonymous with the area a mere thirty years ago. However "catch–up" in itself does not account for what might be considered one of Europe’s single biggest urban renewal success stories. Many commentators appear to be predicting a fairly gloomy outlook for the UK’s 2011 property market. Recent history has shown how unpredictable markets can be but I would venture that the qualities that have carried our area so far over the last couple of decades will see us through this period of economic austerity relatively well.
We analyse local trends and activity so as to better deliver our client’s properties to the most appropriate audience. Understanding our market allows us to tailor marketing campaigns helping to ensure optimum prices are achieved whether a client is looking to sell discreetly, through our established database of buyers, or utilise our comprehensive advertising.
Despite the uncertain National picture, the continued influx of overseas buyers and long term investors contributed to relatively high demand against supply in our area. Values were maintained in all price bandings over the year.
Lettings Comment: In high demand
By Emilie Thysse, Lettings Director
January, not usually considered to be the best time of year to let your property, proved an incredible start to the 2011 Lettings market. The number of people searching for their next rental property traditionally increases after Christmas, but this year, the dramatic surge in tenants registering has resulted in, on average, four potential tenants for every available property on the market a disparity we would normally expect during the height of the busy summer period.
In previous years, the vast majority of people searching at this time of year would have been doing so within the last two months of their existing tenancy. However, in our Notting Hill office in particular, we have seen many tenants’ leaving their property search until the last few weeks of their current tenancy. We believe that tenants in the mid to low price ranges have become more accustomed to reduced property levels and start their search later, when they believe they are more ‘attractive’ to landlords. In contrast, at the higher end of the market, tenants are still showing careful levels of preparation by looking well in advance of their move-in date and in some cases, we are exchanging contracts up to three months in advance of the availability date where tenants want to avoid the risk of being involved in the growing number of “bidding wars” that are now occurring in central London.
The activity of the corporate lettings market has no doubt added to the already large number of private tenants currently searching for properties. The Marsh & Parsons Corporate & Relocation Services Department has been working directly with a number of companies from a wide variety of industry sectors. These range from oil companies to legal, and transport to media – an indicator that things are looking positive in the city. With companies still extremely conscious of operating costs, the ‘paid for’ services of relocation agents have been somewhat reduced at the start of 2011. The preferred route has been for these companies to work directly with a team dedicated to corporate and relocation services.
Rental prices improved steadily last year and limited stock levels will bring a similar feel to the market in 2011, thereby maintaining the rental increases reached in 2010 and, in the case of certain properties, rising again this year.