A prominent London-focussed buying agent says she is seeing more foreign buyers returning to the UK capital – with more expected this month.
Jo Eccles, who runs the Eccord agency, says she is currently working with clients from Israel, Azerbaijan, Australia and America with budgets between £2.5m and £10m.
However, the post-pandemic high end ‘tick list’ appears to be changing, with Eccles noting: “The UK’s education system and the pull of London as a destination city are once again underpinning the appeal of London and its property prices. Proximity to family, schools and members clubs have overtaken office commute as location anchors.”
She says the return of some international activity has resuscitated demand for lateral and duplex apartments in central locations, particularly Kings Cross, Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Soho.
Eccles claims that many buyers searching themselves can’t find or secure the right property thanks to a dearth of listings “which has increased the demand for buying agent services.”
She adds that during the lifetime of the pandemic, some 48 per cent of the properties her firm has acquired for clients have been off market.
“Purchase timescales between offer accepted and exchange of contracts have been slower though – many solicitors are having well deserved breaks following the stamp duty surge earlier this year and, for those buying apartments, managing agents have reduced teams making response times to legal enquiries even slower than usual” she adds.
Major sales firms such as Knight Frank and Savills have recently reported that central London continues to resist the substantial house price growth seen across almost all of the rest of the UK, partly thanks to the absence of overseas buyers.
Some developers are building life-size show homes in overseas countries – such as the United Arab Emirates – to try to woo foreign investment buyers wary or unable to travel to the UK because of Coronavirus restrictions.