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October 2009

The Buyers are back!
In 1961 a French psychologist based in America by the name of Rene Girard came up with the term – “Mimetic Desire”. Basically it says that we want to do the things that other people do because their decisions validate our own. This explains everything from the herd instinct to fashion.

Relate this “mimetic desire” to property and add a further element of lack of supply and it is not surprising that we have seen an extremely brisk prime central London market over the last two quarters.

For those having “a good recession”, the lucky ones who have either sold their assets at the top of the market or are in still strong business sectors, the desire to buy back into property whilst prices are low is a strong motivating force. This is usually frustrated by the competition in the market from like minded people fighting for the same property!

Good time to sell
In our opinion this is a very good time to sell before more property comes to market and creates the comparative competition. The Mayfair market however is still hampered by a low volume turnover as this is an area where, for the most part, owners don’t need to sell.

This year due to low turnover Wetherell can boast 83% of all sales so far in Mount Street but this statistic is based on our only selling five out of the six Mount Street apartments sold with a total value just under £19 million. Two “High Street” records where broken; one a record price at £2,360 per square foot (not even achieved in the good times) the other was conducting over 100 viewings before a sale! The mimetic desire is for “turn-key” ready to move into properties not old fashioned properties especially now as the private developer has been forced out of the market due to lack of debt finance. For 2009 Wetherell can also boast 100% market share for flats sold overlooking Grosvenor Square.

Mayfair Sales Up 15% – Number Agents Down

The market for the first three quarter’s of the year shows an overall 15% increase in volume sold but still only 40% of the 2007 volumes. The total value though has dropped by a third from 2008 to just under £150M which compares to a 2007 figure of nearly £400M although three spring 2008 house sales accounted for over £60M which if stripped out would make capital sales figures the same for 2008 and 2009).

The number of agents involved in the sales is now half of the 32 estate agents doing the deals in 2007 and down by 20% from last year. (’07: 32 / ’08: 20 / ’09: 16). However the top three agents are still commanding about 50% market share.

New to market
With a lack of good stock coming to market we are privileged to be launching a number of prime properties into the autumn market.

Former home of The Duchess of Argyll
One of Mayfair’s finest townhouse having “the best preserved early-Georgian front in the prestigious Mayfair address of Upper Grosvenor Street”.

This Grade II listed house was originally completed in 1729 and has been subject to a 3 year restoration project. The house now combines the charm of the 18th century with the functionality of the 21st century with lift, air-conditioning and fully integrated house management system. The kitchen was brought up from the basement to Ground floor level opening onto the garden and replacing the original kitchen with a fully equipped private cinema for 8 persons. Freehold. £17.5M.

One of the finest houses in Mayfair
A wide fronted south facing Grade II listed Georgian mansion with adjoining garden and mews requiring total refurbishment to create of a 10 reception room, 10 bedroom and 10 bathroom house of just under 19,000 sq.ft. Freehold

Two Park Lane Apartments
Situated in a bow fronted white stuccoed period Mayfair mansion overlooking Hyde Park. A lateral apartment and a duplex with garden. £3.65M & £4.5M

The Beatles “Lived” Here
A small mews houses originally rented by Brian Epstein, the Manager of The Beatles, located in Mayfair’s famous Hays Mews. £950,000

Wetherell’s New Website
When you buy a drill you are more interested in the hole it will make than the drill. We bore this in mind when we built our new website which apart from featuring Mayfair’s finest properties also features topics and links to “Mayfair Life” – where to eat, stay and shop. This section will be expanding rapidly as we add further links to the finest that Mayfair has to offer.

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