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Manuel Detogni CEO of Welcome Home interviewed by money.it

Great opportunities on London’s property market

Our CEO was interviewed by money.it about great opportunities in the British capital. “The crisis as opportunity, I have never received so many requests”, says Manuel Detogni.

“One in three owners have expressed a new interest in buying in London’s prime locations, betting on a recovery. Some clients are considering renting on long-term contracts and then converting them to short-term in the first quarter of 2021. London will recover quickly as all economic cycles show. The recovery will be immediately after a settling of 6-8 months, we have to hold on and close this 2020 as soon as possible.”

You can find the full article on https://www.money.it/opportunita-mercato-immobiliare-londra

Below, the interview translation:

Great opportunities on London’s property market thanks to Brexit and Covid-19

Brexit and COVID-19 related uncertainty is creating never-before-seen investment opportunities in London’s top-tier real estate market

A dark cloud hangs over London’s Property Market. At the beginning of last year, there were losses due to the uncertain climate of Brexit – a climate that was seriously aggravated by the coronavirus crisis. By April 2020, a frightening 38% drop in transaction volume was reported. Knight Frank, one of London’s largest estate agents, estimated a loss of around 250,000 homes sold. Although LonRes pointed out a 65% drop in transactions compared to May 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stringent Lockdown measures imposed, last May, many predicted a rapid recovery: agencies mobilized offering videocall services via Skype and Zoom to schedule remote home visits, and there was hope for a general continuation of normal life, after the first months of COVID-19.

Clearly, this did not happen. With new restrictions and a new lockdown announced on Sunday 1st November, London noise-dives into yet more economic uncertainty, putting a strain on the sellers who are now having to put to bed expectations of short-term realization.

London, are properties getting cheaper?

The question that arises is whether or not London is losing its charm in these unpredictable times. Compared to the previous year, the houses sold in London in July and August fell by 15%: the English capital finds itself in a situation of economic and social slowdown on a large scale. Nunzia Autorino, of Welcome Home, posits that London’s social and cultural energy is now on hiatus, and many of the activities that made London attractive to a huge population have now become inaccessible.

What is sorely lacking in the London property market is not Londoners or tourists, but buyers and large international investors. The so-called “golden postcodes”- high-profile and luxury areas such as Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair and Regent’s Park – are desolate from a real estate point of view, at least at the moment, causing growing anxiety in the market. Due to current circumstances, more and more buyers are turning to green neighbourhoods in London or even country houses, creating the aptly-named “Donut” effect.

After the reopening of the post-Covid real estate market, properties in the suburbs with green spaces, and even smaller cities experienced a “mini boom”; the situation in London, on the other hand, is taking longer to recover. If we compare the number of new buyers looking for homes worth £1 million or more who registered with the Savills agency during July and August we can see that the south of England received property requests which were 120% higher than the pre-Covid average, while in London the average dropped by 20%.

Crisis as opportunity

There are those who might find, in this uncertain and slow climate, an advantageous opportunity to buy in a real estate market that is much less competitive than normal. A weak Sterling and a general willingness to bargain, dictated by pressure on owners who have found themselves short of the usual hordes of tourists looking for short-term rentals during the summer period, has opened new possibilities. There is currently greater availability, with 60% more houses for rent compared to last year (LonRes) with substantial market inflation.

This leads to new possibilities, even in areas hitherto considered “off limits”. Covent Garden and South Kensington are examples of this: properties in these areas were once deemed almost inaccessible, and, in most cases, negotiations ended with an Over Asking price. Today you can find prime-location properties at competitive prices. London may have hit its all-time lows, creating an excellent opportunity to purchase a high-end property, with a discount.

Welcome Home has already received more than one request to search for freehold properties in the aforementioned areas, one of which is in the very luxurious area of Mayfair.

Manuel Detogni of Welcome Home concludes:

“We refused searches for properties in certain areas for years because there was no product available – today we must see the crisis as a new opportunity”.

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