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June 24, 2024
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: London Property, Luxury real estate London, Negotiation advice and techniques

Is London a shadow of its former self?

London a shadow of its former self? |


“London is not as nice as it once was”.

“The city is no longer safe”.

“It’s so scary with this political situation”.

These are just a few of the comments I have heard recently. It seems that the aftershocks of Brexit and the pandemic have dealt London a punch to the stomach and the recent announcements on the changes on the non-dom rules are a follow up blow to the chin. London is wobbling!

Or is it?

Well, firstly, I think it is fair to say that London is not where it could have been if we had not had Brexit. As one client of mine said: “If we hadn’t had Brexit, London would be the de facto capital of the world. It would have left every other city behind”.

While that might have been overstating it slightly, there is no doubt that Brexit put the handbrake on London’s momentum and this was compounded by the pandemic – The politicians were incapable of handling the former and were then, understandably, focussed on the latter.

But would it be unfair to say that London is hardly a hell-hole or remote outpost that has been left behind by the rest of the world?

Well, I had some clients from Europe in London two weeks ago and they had a fantastic time: Shopping in Bond Street, visits to the theatre and opera, two different restaurants each day and they even found time to view some properties that I had shortlisted for them!

In short, they loved it and as the father said “Compared to Paris, London is cleaner and safer and works!”. Now, I haven’t been to Paris for years but he is not the first person to say this to me. And this is not to say that Paris is horrible either. I doubt there are many better cities. It’s just that London has more appeal for most people as is demonstrated by the league table of global cities.

Meanwhile, another client from Europe was here to view properties last week. I acquired an apartment for him and his family last year and he now wants to invest more into London. He asked me what was happening in the market and I said that most buyers are in “wait and watch mode”.

When I told him that this was because people are concerned about the election he was somewhat bemused as he pointed out that despite Brexit, the UK has one of the strongest democracies in the world and a track record of protecting property rights. He also rightly pointed out that most international buyers are like him, i.e. not non-doms.

Of course, not everyone thinks like my clients and, as I say, most people are waiting and watching, but that shows that the intent is there. More importantly, while some people are certainly leaving London, there is no shortage of people who want to live here or at the very least own property here.


In no particular order:

  1. Fantastic nightlife and restaurants
  2. A vast array of theatres, galleries and museums
  3. A business infrastructure that is hard to match – not just large companies and stock exchange but also advertising, solicitors, tax advisers, marketing and PR, venture capital, the best tech and biotech start-up scene in Europe, etc., etc.
  4. World class schools and universities such as Eton, Harrow, Oxford & Cambridge.
  5. A robust legal system and very little corruption
  6. We speak English – it sounds stupid, but it is important
  7. It is relatively safe for a large city. There is knife crime but, unfortunately, this tends to take place in the less affluent areas
  8. The UK is very liberal and inclusive. London has an extraordinary range of cultures
  9. The time zone is good for doing business across the globe
  10. It is an excellent transport hub

I could go on. In short, London is a city of opportunity where one can also have an awful lot of fun. For “international” Londoners, it may have lost a little bit of its sparkle compared to 2014-2016 when London was booming. But it is still one of the world’s top two cities.

So, while London may have taken a few blows to the chin, it is standing firm thanks to the diverse nature of its economy, solid and trustworthy legal system which is combined with pretty much everything you could want if you want to enjoy life.

This is why most of the hedge funds returned from Switzerland after a fairly brief 18 month move. As one pointed out: “Life is too short to be this rich and that bored”.

Nevertheless, acquiring a property in London is not the right choice for everyone.

“What was refreshing was that rather than focusing on the potential purchase (which is where he would have earned a fee), he advised us that acquiring another property may not be the best option for us.

We would recommend that you speak to Jeremy if you are planning to acquire a property in London. It is very rare to find someone who will give honest and objective advice especially when it is not in their interest to do so; but Jeremy did just that. We would definitely recommend his services.” Mr. and Mrs. M. Smith (Belgravia)

So, if you would like to discuss your plans to find a property in London, you can arrange a strategy call with me by emailing Dee, my assistant, at dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or calling 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).


About the author, Jeremy McGivern

My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.

Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade.

My advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.

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