Laurence Glynne, Partner of LDG, said: “The imminent election hasn’t dampened the sales market in the West End; vendors are still marketing their properties and there are a range of buyers who are all keen to purchase. Although most reports suggest that the London market rebound has largely been driven by foreign purchasers, a large number of our buyers in the last financial year (April 2009 – March 2010) were UK buyers, some of whom are seeking to invest their money in property whilst interest rates are low and their money is doing nothing in savings accounts. Interestingly, just over 60% of all sales were cash purchases; property is currently deemed a more attractive investment than stocks and shares because it’s a tangible asset, and historically, property in the West End approximately doubles every ten years, so although the market may fluctuate from time to time, in the long term, it is likely to present a good return on investment.”
The rental market too is experiencing a boom in prices, with rents increasing by around 5-8% from last year due to a lack of supply. Javier Carrillo, Partner said: “Accidental landlords who withdrew their properties from the sales market a year or so ago have since seen the sales market rise and as such, are withdrawing their property from the lettings market and trying the sales market again.
“Demand for rental properties changes depending on the economic situation and time of year. For example, we saw a big increase in Greek applicants when the economic crisis hit Greece last year. As we head towards the summer, demand from students will rise – there are around 15 universities in the West End. Many are students from wealthy families, some of whom have budgets of up to £1,000 per week for accommodation, which means they can live in property which is far from the kind of ‘student digs’ some of the older generation may recall! Also, the redevelopment of the BBC’s Broadcasting House on Great Portland / Langham Street – the largest ever capital development project for the BBC which is due for completion in 2012 – means that we are likely to see an increase in media-orientated applicants looking for property in the coming months.”
Laurence Glynne concludes: “As we had into the summer market, much will be dependent on how the financial markets react to the election, but for now, it’s ‘business as usual’ in the West End.”
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