Today marks the first day of the London Real Estate Forum, taking place between 14th – 15th June in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, just around the corner from the Sunseeker London office! The forum brings together some of London’s leading property advisers and offers visitors the opportunity to meet and ask questions on real estate in panel discussions, presentations and networking events.
In light of this large Mayfair event, we turned to Simon Barnes, Managing Director of H. Barnes & Co, a boutique specialist property consultancy with a small and exclusive client base who are experts in London property sales and acquisitions, for a brief Q&A on the latest updates of the luxury real estate market. H. Barnes & Co also handles a carefully selected portfolio of luxury properties to rent in St Tropez, including the ultra exclusive Villa Armani Casa (see below).
Q. How has the PCL (Prime Central London) market changed in the past 2 years?
A. Sanctions on Russian and Eastern European buyers have greatly compromised the market in recent years as well as UK tax initiatives. Whereas previously there was a level of confidence which was reflected in a higher volume of transactions, both have been noticeably reduced and with that, any sense of urgency has disappeared.
Q. How would you describe the current PCL real estate market?
A. In a word, ‘fragile’ with a lot of people firmly sitting on the fence and poised to move only once the market shows some signs of life, something that could happen if any of the above situations eases and of course once we get past 23 June and the EU Referendum.
Q. How does H. Barnes & Co advise clients in this challenging market?
A. The market is tricky and therefore it is our job to steer our clients through the process of buying and selling. We work carefully to identify willing vendors and ensure that their properties are always presented as ‘best in class’ and crucially have realistic asking prices. For our buyers, we will always ensure we have access to the best properties in their chosen area and price range and will negotiate hard on their behalf.
Q. Where else is H. Barnes & Co active outside of PCL?
A. As a result of increased demand for top end rental property specifically in South Of France, we have recently established an exclusive alliance with St Tropez based property consultant, Alexandra Lloyd so that we are now able to source and offer clients some of the most sought after luxury rental properties in this charming town, including some which are not officially available, or have never been available to rent before.
Q. What are your predictions for the rest of 2016?
A. At this point, it is clear that uncertainty around the outcome of the forthcoming EU Referendum, is causing the greatest level of unease within the market and is stalling activity. We therefore believe that post 23 June, almost regardless of the outcome, we will see increased activity and a burst of energy across PCL… and beyond.
For more information about the London Real Estate Forum, please visit http://www.lref.co.uk/. If you are planning to attend the Forum, a Sunseeker book containing beautiful pictures taken by our Sunseeker photographer Garry Castle of Modo Publishing is available to view at the show.