Martin Bikhit, Managing Director of Kay & Co explains why the London property market is entering a new exciting chapter with a renewed sense of confidence.
January is a time for looking forward, but also for looking back. What clues were there in the old year to how things are likely to pan out in the new one?
We are starting 2018 in excellent spirits, having ended 2017 in better shape than seemed likely at the start of the year. Prices across the capital were down very slightly over the course of the year, but in central London, the area which should have been hit hardest by the rises in stamp duty in 2016, there were clear signs of greater positivity in the market.
Stalled prices have not dampened activity. If anything, greater realism in pricing has acted as a stimulus. Our experience on the ground confirmed the sense of a market on the rise, despite some of the gloomier forecasts swirling around.
In fact, by some measures, 2017 was our best year yet. In Montagu Square, we achieved a record-breaking price of just over £2,400 per square foot on a duplex apartment. In Hyde Park Gardens, we achieved our highest ever rental price, as well as selling all four properties we marketed. And in sought-after Connaught Square, we sold a grade II listed townhouse at an impressive price, too. As James Callaghan famously said, ‘Crisis? What crisis?’
There is no point in pretending that it will be plain sailing for the central London market, with many question marks remaining about the exact shape of Brexit. But confidence in London property remains high and, with sellers now pricing their properties more realistically than some of them were doing eighteen months ago, I am confident about the year ahead.
You still hear dark mutterings about the 2016 stamp duty rises, and we were as critical of them as anyone, but buyers and sellers alike are not holding out for a change in the political weather at Westminster.
I am looking forward to an exciting 2018. There will be a premium, as there always is, on the best properties on the best streets, but as we are surrounded by many of those streets in Connaught Village and Marylebone, we remain optimistic. And we will be opening a new office in King’s Cross this spring, too.
Taking prime central London as a whole, there is a healthy mixture of realism and optimism in how investors are approaching the year ahead. I truly believe that the market is entering a new exciting chapter, and that everyone is likely to benefit, from buyers and sellers to landlords.
• Martin Bikhit, Managing Director of Kay & Co has more than 20 years’ experience in the prime and super-prime property sectors. Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale or to rent in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Regents Park and The West End (020 7262 2030; Kay & Co).