Unless you are happy buying a poor or average property, you need to have better information than other buyers & access to better properties.
There are several reasons why you might be planning to acquire a property in London. After all it is a fantastic city which is not only a global financial centre but also a cultural, culinary and educational one too.
The vast array of museums, theatres, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars and fascinating historical sites mean that there is something for everyone. Couple that with the financial, creative and technological hubs that London has and you have a thriving city which attracts successful and ambitious people from all over the world.
And as a place to bring up a family or invest money, it is also attractive due to the clear rule of law and political framework which protects the rights of individuals and means that you can not be targeted by a disgruntled politician and have your assets forcibly taken from you without clear legal grounds.
Consequently areas like Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Belgravia, Chelsea and Kensington are globally renowned addresses which many of the world’s wealthiest and successful people call home and/or have invested substantial sums into property.
You may be looking to acquire a home, an investment or a pied-a-terre in these areas, which have proven to be safe investments not just for decades but also for centuries. However, you must be very careful.
These areas are not bullet-proof despite what many estate agents will tell you and there are certain properties that will prove to be far better homes and investments than others. If you acquire the wrong property, it will cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds if not millions.
Frighteningly, I see, on almost a weekly basis, naïve or inexperienced buyers acquire poor and average properties when there are better opportunities literally just around the corner, because they have not done their research or are relying on poor information.
Unfortunately, most people believe what they read in the press, but the information on London property is far too general to be of any use.
In fact, observations on the London property market are dangerously misleading. What is happening in the £2m market in Belgravia is very different to the £10m market in Belgravia, which in turn is very different to the £20m market in Belgravia which in turn will be very different to what is happening in the £30m market in Kensington.
I could go on but you get the picture.
Unless you are happy buying a poor or average property, you need to have better information than other buyers & access to better properties. This is why I founded Mercury Homesearch in 2001. Because I was fed up with the poor information and service that I was receiving.
What you are reading in the press about property prices is wrong and I will prove this to you.
Why is this important?
Well, if you want to acquire your ideal home or investment on the best terms possible then you need to have a forensic understanding of what is happening in the areas in which you wish to buy.
Because if you don’t have more and better market intelligence than the sellers, the estate agents and other buyers, then you will immediately be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding the real opportunities and then handling the negotiations. Is this a situation you want to find yourself in?
Unfortunately, the majority of buyers rely on two sources for their market data: the estate agents and the press.
The obvious problem with relying on the estate agents’ research is that they are legally obliged to achieve the highest price possible for their clients, the sellers. As a buyer, you are not their client; in fact, you are referred to as an “applicant”, which gives you an idea of the level of service and advice you can expect.
I discuss the problems of this in my book, so I won’t dwell on them here except to say that relying on research from the agents who work in direct conflict with you – unless you are happy to overpay – is not the most sensible course of action. Amazingly this doesn’t deter the majority of buyers, but I expect that you are rather more astute.
However, you likely read the newspapers and watch the news. Unfortunately, their track record is shockingly poor – let me give you a few examples from the last property cycle. As you are probably aware the market boomed from 1994-2007, but for most of this period the experts and the press were largely negative.
The following are extracts taken from the time:
2000 – “Housing-market experts, from estate agents on the ground to analysts in the high-rise city banks, are agreed on one thing: this is more than the annual summer slowdown. House-price inflation has dropped considerably and, in some pockets of the capital - usually areas on the fringes of more fashionable addresses - where people were paying silly prices for bad houses, properties are indeed worth up to 10 to 15 per cent less than they were six months ago.” The Daily Telegraph
2001 – “The house price indices are for once agreed: prices are slipping as the effects of recession take hold. Suddenly, the telephone-number price-tags of rather ordinary two-bedroom flats are beginning to look ridiculous.” The Daily Telegraph
2002 – “The top of the property market has been in trouble for some time… Property in some outer London boroughs now changes hands at phenomenal multiples of average local earnings - the prices being pushed up by a relatively small number of people driven out of expensive parts of the city.
In Bromley, for example, house prices are now 10.4 times local earnings” The Daily Telegraph
2003 – “He [Roger Bootle] said: 'The message is clear. Houses are now so over-valued that a prolonged period of falling prices is on the cards.' … Some London 'hot spots' have already seen prices marked down in recent weeks, which has been attributed to lower City bonuses and Stock Market uncertainties.” The Daily Mail 1st March 2003
2005 – “After five years of unstoppable price rises, the housing market has been showing signs of jitters.” BBC
The market went up massively for a further two years into 2007 and if house prices had been “unstoppable” for the previous five years, then what on earth were they reporting? Is it unfair to suggest that relying on the press for accurate data on property is not a good idea?
The problem is that the press stories are given credibility because they use statistics from highly regarded sources like Roger Bootle (see the extract above from 2003). Now you may have heard of him - he was formerly chief economist at HSBC and he was one of the Bank of England’s wise men. In other words, he was someone we absolutely had to listen to, but in 2003 he said:
“House prices will fall by up to 30% over the next four years”.
If you had taken his advice, you would have missed out on four years of huge price increases. Indeed, prices in prime central London were still much higher in the depth of the crash in 2009/2010 than they were in 2005.
So please, be very wary of what you read in the press. It is almost always horribly misleading if not downright wrong. You probably know this from your own area of expertise.
In an upcoming article, I will show you why the city analysts, economists and other “experts” make such poor predictions.
Who am I and why should you listen to me?
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.
Please note that the strategies and techniques revealed in the book and CD’s are not just theory. They have been tested and proven over 13 years of acquiring hundreds of millions of pounds worth of prime London
property for my clients, who include some of the world’s wealthiest families and most successful entrepreneurs and business people - it may surprise you but over 30% of our clients are British and based in London so this information is relevant whether you have bought a property in London before or not.
Acquiring a prime central London home is a minefield for the uninformed. Make sure you put knowledge on your side by reserving your free copy of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London and set of 6 CD’s. Simply leave your details above and I will have them sent to you immediately.
Good luck finding your ideal home in London.