THE MAYFAIR NUMBERS

Wetherell has market share of residential property sold in Mayfair for 2008

100% market share of properties over £10M
66% market share of properties over £5M
23% market share of number of units sold
53% market share in terms of total value sold
54% market share of total sq.ft. / m2 sold

MAYFAIR MARKET REPORT

Wetherell have over 25 years experience in the residential Mayfair market. Peter Wetherell has worked in the area for since 1972 and seen numerous cycles in the market over the years.

Our view is that prime property in Mayfair is still comparatively good value compared to Belgravia and other prime central London areas. Mayfair is still playing “catch-up” and offers buying opportunities to both home owners and investors.

Value verses Volume

Values are being maintained but volumes of sales are at all time low. However demand is still strong but the difference with 2007 is that the buyers are more specific.

The best and the rest

2007 was the year to sell slightly secondary property for primary prices. 2008 will be the year when only primary property will sell for primary prices – “The best and the rest”.

Low Volume Market

The difficulty for the year ahead is how to you value correctly in a low volume market?

Land Registry figures for sales volume in England and Wales for 2007 fell below 1 million compared to about 1.25 million for 2006. (In the boom of 1988 there were nearly 2 million sales)

There are currently only 70 properties for sale in Mayfair (including 10 under offer). This time last year there would have been over 100 available. (In the boom of 1988 there would have been around 150–180)

Levels of Mayfair Market Activity

The activity in enquiries and sales is in the super prime market over £5M. The entry level to Mayfair is now £750,000 for a small 2 bedroom flat on a mid term lease in a poor location. The majority of properties under offer up to £2M are with developers or to investors for the rental market which is still strong. Our top of the market deals have been to owner occupiers.

Off Market Deals

There are currently £275 million worth of Mayfair houses and flats in the open market with Wetherell instructed on 25% of value. We are not aware of all “off market sales” but Wetherell are quietly marketing a further £100 million of property “off market”. They do not appear in any printed or electronic media, they are available but not “for sale” in the traditional method of sale.

Back to Basics

For those either buying or selling there is currently a range of opinions as to what is happening in the economy as a whole and to the property market in general both here and abroad.

To prime central London we have the added complications of Chancellor Darling’s determination to shoot himself in the foot over the “non-dom” issue.

Add to this our London Mayor’s cheap election pledge of imposing £25 a day congestion charges on cars he terms as “gas guzzlers” although in reality they actually do very few miles per journey.

With all this uncertainty it is not surprising that the market is slower for Q1 than in previous years. For those of us who have worked through different governments and economic cycles; we can still remember that the first few months of the year were always quiet for the property market with the emphasis being focused on the spring.

With the wonders of the web, we all now have access to an amazing amount of property data but it offers no knowledge; this is still in the domain of the experienced estate agent. For those wishing to sell it is also a very confusing time listening to those estate agents that wish to give you sound professional advice and those that just want your instruction and will tell you whatever it takes to clinch it!

Conclusion

The residential property market for central London property is still sound, let’s just hope the Government does not come up with any nasty surprises in the March 12th budget. How about doubling the 4% threshold for stamp duty from £500,000 to £1 million and 0% up to half a million?

For those seriously looking to buy you should receive a better service from the estate agents as there is more time available, however it will still be a frustrating experience as there is a lot less to offer. For those thinking of selling, don’t believe what you read in the newspapers, this could be a very good time for selling, but at the right price!