Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

A characterful mews house surrounded by the rich and famous becomes hot property in the area... 

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Obviously I am biased, but I do believe the West End is the best place to live in London. 

There is such a vibrant feel here and unlike Mayfair, most residents stay at the weekend to enjoy metropolitan life in some of the best, newest and hippest restaurants and cafés. 

I founded Hudsons 15 years ago and prices have really grown since then. Our office is in Charlotte Street and there is a huge new development where the old Royal Mail sorting office once was. 

The flats are coming up for completion later this year and we are presently dealing with some of the re-sales for people who bought a few years back. 

Prices are now reaching close to £2,000 per square foot, not including the penthouses, but when I first started Hudsons the market was closer to £700 a square foot.

Oxford Street is buzzing this sunny morning, as I cut through Soho Square en route to a meeting. Soho really has changed in the last 10 years but some of the tried and tested spots are still as popular as ever. 

I’m meeting a contact who is viewing on behalf of a client based in Dubai who’s looking to buy a whole building separated into flats.  

The meeting goes well, as we have a few options that seem to be of interest. Increased stamp duty and Brexit uncertainty have tried their best to slow things down, but it seems the currency discount on offer to non UK-based buyers is simply too tempting to turn down. 

Later I meet an old client who has a number of properties locally that we manage for him. We have just refurbished our offices and he remembers when we first met, in a more humble office two doors away. 

A really characterful mews house in Colville Place, just off Charlotte Street, is getting a lot of interest. It has four bedrooms, lots of charm and a wonderful south-facing roof terrace. 

The present owner bought it as he wanted a freehold house near Soho where he works, but not in a noisy location.

Anita Roddick, late founder of The Body Shop, once owned a house down there, along with a famous artist and a couple of film directors. 

There aren’t many houses in Fitzrovia so when these ones become available they don’t hang about long — especially if they’ve got a suntrap terrace.

Our new website is launching today. After months of work, I’d like to think we have thoroughly tried and tested it but until it goes live you can never be sure. 

I remember the days when you had to visit an agent just to get property details and now they are readily available on a phone, PC or tablet.

There seem to be two types of buyers out there at the moment: the ones who will see something and offer straight away, and others who view, seem really keen then go missing — only to contact you out of the blue three or four weeks later and make an offer. 

Today is no exception as my colleague receives a call from an Italian family who first viewed late last year, viewed again a month ago and have now put in an offer on a new-build property around the corner from our office. 

It’s still available and they have offered what looks to be an acceptable price. 

As London regional executive of NAEA Propertymark, formerly the National Association of Estate Agents, I start the day by replying to emails from some of the members in the capital. 

I like to keep in touch with our members so I can understand what’s happening not just in the West End, but right across London. 

I hear from my Dubai bulk-buyer contact today via email. His client is very keen on one of the blocks I introduced him to and wants a more in-depth breakdown of returns and costs. 

Things are looking good and as we head to the weekend, the sun’s shining again. I think I’ll grab a nice bottle of wine from Connaught Wine Cellars on the way home.

  • Jonathan Hudson is a director at Hudsons in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia (020 7323 2277).

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