We began February by moving into our new offices, just along Montpelier Street towards Harrods, in the heart of Knightsbridge.
It’s an exciting move and expansion for us, and comfortably in time for our busiest season of the year, spring (although late Autumn gives it a run for its money these days).
The new office has a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm to it, and the deal sheet is alive with activity.
Even though the market is officially still flat, things feel decidedly different to this time last year… here’s our thinking, with more detail on why this is happening, and a bit of history and heritage to our developing brand and business:
Bridging the gap:
We mentioned at the end of last year that our intention as a business is to bridge the gap between buyer and seller, and provide similar levels of service to both, due to the current nature of the value chain. Our intentions to build bridges go further back however, and with our recent acquisition of 32 year-old Hobart Slater estate agency, we have taken on an even deeper Knightsbridge heritage.
Originally, this area of London was a series of fields that connected the villages of Chelsea and Kensington, between which the now re-diverted Westbourne River flowed. Knights-bridge was called thus because of the bridge across the river between the base of the Serpentine at Hyde Park and Sloane Square (you can see the re-diversion clearly from the platform at Sloane Square tube station – a feat of Victorian engineering that remained undamaged throughout the blitz in WW2 – even with the rest of the station being destroyed, this subterranean aqueduct stood firm, the water continuing to flow).
Much legend surrounds the bridge itself. In 1148 Queen Maud is rumoured to have met to on the bridge with the citizens of London, to answer their frustrations. And what is more permanent in history is George II’s wife Queen Caroline’s intervention in 1730 to damn the river just north of Knightsbridge, creating the Serpentine, and preceding the major works of diversion in the Victoria era.
It is said that knights would use the bridge as they came to London before leaving for the crusades, to seek a blessing from the Bishop of Fulham. As ‘knight’ has also long been a terms for ‘local lad’ however, the veracity of this strand of the story cannot be verified. And of course when launching our business, after attending school in the area followed by two decades of property specialisation here, we took great care not to position ourselves in such questionable ways!
The bridge we provide these days is between buyer and seller, market to market, cycle to cycle and locale to locale. We are indeed a nexus between these different areas of the Royal Borough, and our specialties of Chelsea, Kensington and of course Knightsbridge, set us aside from the competition.
Our tips for thriving in 2018:
Succeeding in high end property this year is about three things: pricing correctly, immaculate presentation and truly proactive and open communication between buyer and seller.
With continued high levels of political uncertainty and jittery markets, property as a whole is likely to remain flat. We have not had such a plateau since 2009-2011, and common sense says it is a time to hold and trust in natural forces. The cycle is unfolding, and with clarity around Brexit forthcoming, and Trump’s White House tenancy careering out of control towards the halfway point, consumer and investor confidence will return at some stage.
Reinforcing that, the importance of taking the macro view is essential in areas of low pressure like the one we are in. In a long game, it’s important to remember that the market has not gone backwards, there has been no crash, and even in the worst of times back in 2009, prices did not collapse. Rather people these days just hold on to what they’ve got.
There is no point in creating more work than is necessary. In a market such as this, take time to consolidate and reflect, and plan for resurgence in the economy. At NVP we have done this by buying one of our competitors, investing in a new team and premises, increasing the levels of mindfulness we bring to servicing clients, and being more thorough than ever with our pipeline.
The scourge of such times is failing to harvest low hanging fruit.
Diversification is key. We have worked hard to secure a more even portfolio of interests, commensurate with the changing requirements of our clients. As we blogged last year, renting is a way of life for many, even in super prime areas. Long term hi-quality lettings have never been more popular, for clients who recognise the vanishing gains of yesteryear make buying less mandatory than it used to be. In our acquisition of Hobart Slater, NVP now has the definitive balance between both sales and lettings, for all dimensions of the hi-end market.
Our recent blogs:
From now until the end of March our fee down to 1.5%, for sole agency instructions!
Come and say hello.
Much like the original bridge, we are a meeting point for people in this area of London to access truly high end property intelligence, swap stories, and trade in some of the world’s most exclusive properties.
We’d love to see you soon.
Nic & Patrick
T: 020 7581 8277