Despite the current difficult trading conditions, various parts of the London property market are experiencing something of a renaissance.
Here in Wapping, due to our unique location close to the City and Canary Wharf, combined with the unprecedented excitement engendered by the Olympic Games, we are enjoying a significant increase in enquiries from both purchasers and vendors.
Or, to put it another way, the phone is ringing and we are extremely busy showing and valuing properties.
What do a student, a pop star and an overseas investment banker all have in common? They all want to view properties this week and they are all very short of time. In answer to their enquiries, yes we can do viewings at short notice, yes, we are more than happy to view out of normal office hours providing (if the property is occupied) the vendor is willing, and yes, we are open on Saturdays. I manage to juggle my diary accordingly and arrange a series of appointments.
An 8am start with the investment banker viewing three properties, the first of which is a stunning penthouse overlooking the river and ideally placed for London City airport. As one would expect, he is a decisive man and spends very little time in each property.
Due to the economic uncertainty in the eurozone, he views this potential London purchase as a safe investment and anticipates the value will rise in the short to medium term. He concedes that his wife will, of course, make the final decision - and that even though it will probably depend upon how much she likes the kitchen rather than any concerns about the euro, her instincts have not yet let him down.
This morning is spent doing market appraisals and valuations of new properties. One in particular, a Shoreditch penthouse, will almost certainly suit the pop star. It has been designed with exceptional taste, mixing modern architecture and materials with occasional classical references, and the result is unique. Although we have not yet met, we have talked extensively and I have a clear idea of his needs.
Later in the afternoon I fulfil a promise to help clients who purchased a highly refurbished property and have not yet got to grips with the control panels or remotes. We spend some time working our way through the manuals and checking that everything works at the push of a button, which it eventually does. Over much-needed refreshment we agree that all instruction manuals should be handled with extreme caution!
Today the student and I look at two-bedroom properties. He intends to let a bedroom to fellow students for a few months and then move them out while he raises the rent for the duration of the Olympics.
This, he calculates, will go a long way to financing his mortgage in the first year - it’s no surprise to learn that he attends one of the nearby business schools and hopes to work in the City on completion of his studies.
What does come as a surprise, though, is the pop star’s keen interest in this area’s history. This includes the long tradition of seafaring and pirating, through to the artistic connections - Dickens, Pepys, Whistler and Turner all took much inspiration from time spent here. And last, but by no means least, the many local inns and pubs that to this day have maintained a reputation for unrivalled hospitality.
He is also interested in expanding his property portfolio abroad in the future, and I finish the day by putting him in touch with the appropriate Knight Frank international offices.
This week’s diarist is a graduate surveyor in the Wapping office of estate agent Knight Frank