Diary of an estate agent: central London

As our local florist uproots, interest in his Fitzrovia shop blossoms.
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Another week is under way and we are continuing to experience signs of a slowdown in new registrations from buyers. While this has not yet made a huge difference to prices, buyers are obviously being more cautious on the back of tighter lending controls by the banks and proposed interest rate increases. We discuss the market in our morning meeting.
We like to support local groups and over the weekend sponsored our local primary school open day. Hudsons manned the raffle stall and gave out balloons to the children. My colleagues Nicole, Sandrine and Georgie were there all day and did a great job, and I popped in for an hour or so to help with the balloons.
Our local florist has just moved on after 50 years of supplying central London, having decided to spend more time with his family. He will be missed, but there is no shortage of interest in his shop, with some offers of rent 50 per cent over the quoted terms. These are the prices people are willing to pay for such a prime spot.
Not only is Fitzrovia a fantastic central location, it is great for celebrity spotting, too. Last month we had Kate Beckinsale being followed by paparazzi in Charlotte Street, and this week one of our female clients was very excited to spot Aussie actor Hugh Jackman. It seems there is always a star in the area, but sometimes you have to take a second look as it is hard to work out whether they are indeed someone famous, or if it’s just that you know them — or both.
The property portal that Hudsons uses for marketing releases finds today that house prices slowed this month. Although we are still achieving great prices for our clients, we couldn’t really expect the market to keep climbing at such a rate. And this is good news for buyers as they can take a measured approach to making their purchase, rather than feel pressured into reaching a quick decision.
New residential sales instructions have certainly picked up over the last two weeks, as sellers who have been holding off look to make the most of the marketplace. This helps our depleted stock levels, which are currently low because everything has been selling so quickly.
We receive some good — and amusing — feedback when Georgie and our colleague Simon go to meet a couple in the communal hallway of their new flat to hand over the keys. The couple say that Simon and Georgie are head and shoulders above our competition on service. Simon thanks them and then introduces them to the porter of the building, telling them he is so good at his job he adds at least 10 per cent to the price of properties sold here — to which the lady says her husband thinks Georgie adds at least another five per cent... cue a red-faced husband.
A few weeks ago, we agreed a sale to a professor at both Cambridge and Bath Universities. With the property just now exchanged, he is looking forward to his new West End lifestyle. It transpires he wanted to live somewhere fun, from where it is equally easy to travel to both universities, and Fitzrovia ticks all the boxes.
Hudsons attends the Times and Sunday Times letting awards for property today, and the morning is taken up with a seminar with a speaker from Google. Technology is moving so fast in property nowadays, it’s quite exhilarating. At the awards ceremony in the afternoon, we are delighted to pick up the accolade for best property management in the UK. This is testament to the excellent service provided by Hannah, our head of department, and her team, who keep our landlords and tenants happy. We are off out to celebrate. 
  • Jonathan Hudson is director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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