Arriving at the office at 7.45am, I am preparing myself for the frantic week that lies ahead. I am off on holiday to Norfolk next week with my wife and three daughters, and no doubt I will be taking plenty of unfinished work with me.
It has been noticeably busier around Notting Hill since the general election a month ago. Confidence is certainly back and we are receiving bids and serious interest on properties that have been for sale for a few months. These are all good houses that had simply been the victim of a nervous and indecisive market.
What we must now be careful of is an expectation gap that seems to be opening between buyers and sellers. Some vendors mistakenly think the value of their home has rocketed since the Tories won a majority and the threat of a “mansion tax” on properties of £2 million-plus vanished — but it would be wrong to believe buyers have any more cash to spend than they did three weeks ago. I think I’m going to have some awkward client conversations this week.
A number of second viewings are booked in at Leinster Corner, one of the most exciting properties I have ever been involved with. It was launched for sale very recently and is an exceptional place. The former home of author JM Barrie, it is where he wrote Peter Pan and has been in the same family for five generations.
It’s a Grade II-listed, late-Georgian semi-detached house that was built in 1820 — one of the two last remaining of its type in Bayswater Road — with almost 5,000sq ft of space.
It is unusual to come across a property in London with such personality. Rather magically, the exterior of the house is covered in tiny pieces of broken mirrors, embedded into the brick façade, and they twinkle in the light like fairies in homage to Tinkerbell.
Racing back and forth from appointments on my scooter in the spring sunshine today, I feel as though I should be wearing branded trainers and gym kit, rather than a suit and tie.
It’s fair to say this year’s spring property market — typically one of the busiest periods of the year — was something of a late bloomer. Now that we are into June, families seem to be out in force looking for homes before the start of the school summer holidays, when the Notting Hill house market becomes much quieter. It is crucial that we make the most of this period.
Good news travels fast. I receive a call first thing from an industry journalist who has heard about an impressive property we sold last month and wants to run a story on it. It’s a substantial and imposing 11,660sq ft end-of-terrace house in Kensington Park Gardens, one of the largest and most impressive private houses to have been sold in Notting Hill for several years. Sales like this show that the upper end of the market is very much alive for the most exceptional properties in prime addresses.
I have a meeting with our client at Clarendon Works — a quirky and unusual listing. A former Victorian foundry, the house has an industrial atmosphere and Manhattan loft style, including an impressive wine room and integral glass-walled garage. It’s not your typical W11 period property, but it has definitely got the wow factor and is attracting a variety of buyers.
The afternoon is spent tying up loose ends and briefing the team for when I’m away. Somehow I think my week in Norfolk may well feel like another week in Notting Hill.
- Miles Meacock is a partner at Strutt & Parker in Notting Hill (020 7221 1111).