Vantage: Memorable Marylebone
Sat 01 Nov 2014
Despite having opened just over a year ago, Marsh & Parsons' Marylebone and Mayfair office is thriving. David Ruddock, associate director and sales manager explains why.
No two days are the same at Marsh & Parsons: from the camera-wielding tourists desperate to get a snap of the corner office's prestigious blue plaque marking the site of The Beatles' short-lived psychedelic 'Apple Boutique', to the loyal customers who know their investments are safe in the hands of a brand more than 100 years old, David is aware of the area's unique community and spirit.
With almost 25 years in the industry, he has seen a huge shift in the clientele setting London in its sights. "Around 70 percent of our buyers are international," he says. "The area is an international melting pot with Arabic and Asian buyers rubbing shoulders with Germans, Swiss and French. Some are looking to invest, but others have moved here for work or for their education. Surprisingly, there is a large overseas student community. These people aren't your average lager-swilling types looking for 'student digs'. They have around 2m to spend on a beautiful central London apartment, or are willing to part with around 1,000 a week on rent. Our international students are mainly from South East Asia, the Arab states, China and, increasinly, India. Regent's University, Westminster University, the London Business School and Cass are all right here."
As well as the flourishing Marylebone office (one of 22 prime London locations at present) Marsh & Parsons has Camden in its sights with a new office opening this month. Having started his career in Islington just at the 'boom' time, David is aware of Camden's ever-increasing pull. "You're looking at around 800-1,500 per square foot, and there is a lot of opportunity there for someone looking for an investment. There are still a lot of sites that haven't been developed, providing plenty of potential for the right buyer. Full of young media-type professionals and couples, Camden and the surrounding areas of Tufnell Park and Dartmouth Park don't seem to have moved onto the international buyer's radar quite yet, even though just one minute down the road there's Primrose Hill with its international glitterati."
More than ever, Marylebone's prices have reached levels once restricted to Kensington and Knightsbridge. "The Howard de Walden estate has done an incredible job. The high street strikes the perfect balance between its chain stores and independent boutiques, restaurants and cafe's, which in turn has attracted the right types of people. It is quite low-key in a way: someone will walk into our office in jeans and a t-shirt yet they could own around 50 properties in the area. Increasingly, people are turning to Marylebone's fringe areas such as Paddington where they can get a bit more for their money - for now at least. With Baker Street tube station and Crossrail nearby, it's only a matter of time before the prices soar to match the roads closest to Marylebone High Street. A year ago, these areas would generate around 1,400 to 1,800 comparison."
Conversation turns to the start of the next year and what affects the proposed mansion tax and general election may have on the local property scene. "You can't generalise about the London market, because essentially, it's a series of villages," says David. "However, when compared to somewhere like Paris, London is still seen as a stable place to invest your money in property.
"Below the 3m mark, around 60 percent of our clients are investors. And while stock levels are lower than other areas, the turnover is phenomenally high. We have taken on eight properties to sell in the last two weeks, and we already have offers on all but one."
Having secured a top position within a very competitive market, David credits the office's success to its great reputation and ability to forge long-lasting relationships, which keeps people coming back. Either that or they really like The Beatles.