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June 2010

Informative, Useful and Entertaining,

This heading has always been my criteria when preparing my monthly market reports and it is always a personal success when I can tick off each of the three boxes as mission accomplished.

What Election?
In the Mayfair residential market, the busy run up to the election in May and the subsequent hectic weeks thereafter certainly had all the elements for an upbeat report as buyers completely ignored the election circus and concentrated on the traditional spring market.

Volume up and Value returns
At the time of writing volume of sales in Mayfair are 100% up on last year but still just under half off the peak in 2007 when there were nearly 100 sales.  In value terms, the highlights were that Wetherell sold a house off Park Lane in Green Street for £9M and a large house in Charles Street was sold with an adjoining mews sold at £18M.

Market back to spring 2008
About 25% of the available stock is currently under offer with Wetherell having a substantial market share at the top end of the market over £2.5M.  Demand for large houses is showing a continuing strength as investors fearing future inflation once again seek out tangible asset classes, just look at Tom Ford’s Warhol sold at $32.6M, the Picasso at $106M and gold currently trading at $1100 an ounce.  Buyer demand is global with the common link of recognising Mayfair as a prime equity “brand”.

Mayfair Portfolio 2010
We publish this month our Wetherell 2010 Portfolio “Exclusively Mayfair” featuring £250M of prime Mayfair residential property.  We will be loading it up onto our website where you will soon be able to view it in “magazine format”.

New Properties to Market
There has been a great selection of new property to market; a wide fronted period house of 3,935 sq.ft. (we have been chasing it for years) backing onto the Culross Street Gardens, unmodernised  with a short enfranchisable lease of 15 years came to market at £3.5M.

  • Wetherell have also just launched around the corner in Park Street a small period freehold house of 2,587 sq.ft. at £3.5M and also a larger house backing onto Green Street Gardens at £16M for nearly 7,000 sq.ft.
  • Chesterfield Street – Freehold house, three windows across @ £11.5M
  • Charles Street – Freehold house @ £16.5M

Development Opportunities
Two substantial sites have come to the market recently both with price guides in the region of £150M each.  The Audley Square Garage site has planning for a new 300,000 sq.ft. development and the In & Out Club and buildings totaling 180,000 sq.ft. is offered with a range of uses including embassy, offices, residential or an hotel (subject to planning).

  • Queen Street – Freehold Building with planning for 6 apartments @ Guide Price £5M
  • Mount Street – Corner building with planning for five apartments @ Guide Price £10M

Properties Withdrawn
This year over 30 properties have been withdrawn from the sales market and looking down the list the majority comprises over-priced properties put into the market akin to throwing a kite into the air to see if it will catch the wind and fly!

There is still a shortage of property available and for the right property it is still a sellers market, the trick is the positioning in the market.

Rental Market
Enquiries and deals at the top end of the market have picked up again in the £1,500 to £3,500 p.w. range and we have also been successful in renting one of the pair of Penthouses in Avenfield House on an asking of £25,000 p.w.

Renewal of properties on the expiry of lease have increased with rent increases on last years rate.

The Budget 22nd June
Now we wait to see whether controls will be tightened regarding non domiciled residents and whether they alter capital gains tax and bring in SPVs (special purpose company vehicles to own the asset) under that umbrella.

Central London and UK plc still requires a strong financial centre and it can only be hoped that future banking legislation will not drive large corporate companies out of our city to more accommodating world wide locations.

PARW
15/6/10

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