The sales market has started to pick up. The last few quiet months reminded me of 2008, when buyers were hard to come by. Back then we were hoping for any glimmer of light, but in any market there are always deals to be done.
Anyone who bought in 2008 was very wise, as the market has gone well beyond the 2007 high, with some properties rising upwards of 50 per cent locally. So a quiet market is an opportunity to buy. As American business magnate Warren Buffett once said: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
My colleague Simon is out today viewing properties with a famous comedian who is looking to buy in London. It starts to rain, so as they skip from property to property, this chap is sliding about in a pair of suede loafers with little or no grip. So he asks Simon: “Do you mind coming with me to the shoe shop? Or I’ll end up killing myself in these.”
As a result, they head off to a shoe store on Goodge Street. The comic tries on a few pairs, asking Simon for his opinion as he goes along. As Simon is generally the one we tease about his Cuban heels, I just wonder what this gentleman ended up with.
It’s 10.30am and I’m off to visit a dark, brick-fronted Georgian house just off Trafalgar Square. It has had quite a few high-profile tenants over the years and I am very impressed by its glossy black front door. A cat saunters across the black-and-white tiled hallway as though she owns the place.
It is what you might call a Tardis house — much bigger on the inside than it appears from the street. I suppose I must come clean and admit that it is 10 Downing Street, so not somewhere I am ever likely to be invited to value. I am here, along with many other people in business, to meet one of the PM’s aides to discuss ways to create employment opportunities.
I start the day working on scripts for our new online videos, which will explain the areas we cover, the amenities available and the typical types of properties available. It’s very time-consuming trying to condense many years of local knowledge into two minutes.
In the afternoon I walk down Rathbone Place and notice that it seems unusually light and bright. Then I realise the demolition of the old postal sorting office has moved on quicker than expected. This is a huge site between Newman Street and Rathbone Street that Great Portland Estates is developing. All this work will certainly change the look of the immediate area.
I can now see the flat I used to live in on the corner of Newman Street. I remember one night a couple stood under my bedroom window declaring their undying love for one another. Lovely to hear — but not at 11.30pm on a school night.
Hannah brings in a home-made beetroot and cocoa cake to share, and as George from lettings tries a slice, he turns round hurriedly and asks whether there are nuts in it.
“Yes, Brazil nuts,” says Hannah. Cue the adrenaline-shot pen and a taxi to A&E with poor George, who has a nut allergy. He was fine — but employers should be informed of any allergies in the team if you want to avoid dramas in the office.
To end the week we receive an offer from our “Cuban-heeled” comedian, and Iain, our senior sales negotiator, handles the deal to acceptance with the seller in Simon’s absence. It’s a great team effort to end the week.
- Jonathan Hudson is director at Hudsons Property based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).