Marc Da Silva continues his ongoing series of interviews with senior figures from the UK property industry by posing the questions to Karen Morris, associate director of new homes for Glentree International.
What regions do you cover? We sell and let homes in northwest London. Glentree currently has the largest portfolio of new-build residential developments from Central London to Mill Hill. We also have many exciting new schemes coming soon, including projects in St Johns Wood, Primrose Hill, Hendon, Mill Hill and Finchley.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? The demand for new homes is ever increasing. There is a strong desire for new homes for many reasons, from lateral living for those downsizing from large houses, first-time buyers, professional couples, widows and widowers, divorcees, buy-to-let investors, whether for their own personal investments, companies or simply looking for a long-term investment for their future, or that of their children, and capital growth.
There are also overseas buyers looking for a ‘lock-up-and-go' investment or for their children to reside at whilst studying in London/UK.
What types of property is your firm selling? Glentree advises from the early stages of planning to actively marketing middle to high end. The cheapest property would be a one-bedroom apartment for around £400,000 to the most expensive high-end five-star luxury block penthouses in the region of £18m.
The most popular property type would be a lateral apartment offering three bedrooms plus, the average price would be from £1.2m to £2.5m. A further attraction would be a gated, secure, development with a concierge/porter that offers a 'lifestyle'. This demand is predominantly from local people, however, there is great demand from international buyers too.
How much does a new home offered by Glentree typically cost to buy? On average, £1.5m is the typical budget for a three-bedroom apartment.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new-build home as opposed to older property? The attraction for new-build includes many elements including being brand new, hassle-free, high specification, aftercare from renowned developers, the security factor, amenities offered such as concierge and gym, and finally the opportunity, especially if bought early on off-plan, to design a custom-made home to suit individual needs.
In addition, up-to-date 'mod-cons', whether mood lighting, sound systems, wifi, comfort cooling, under floor heating, the latest state-of-the-art kitchens and bathrooms, the creation of stylish, up-to-the-minute contemporary homes.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? If buyers have the foresight we would encourage off-plans sales. Prices tend to increase once a development is completed. Purchasing early allows buyers to have a wider choice and to have input in creating their ideal home.
What is Glentree's USP? We offer an all-round service. We act in a personal, professional manner throughout giving full support to buyers in helping to make many decisions and guiding them through their purchase from the early stages to the day they move in.
Many of our buyers haven't moved in 40 years and some, particularly our international clients, are unfamiliar with the process of buying homes in the UK. We offer comfort and full support throughout, in some cases we might be dealing with a purchaser directly for three years.
In the same way as we provide full support to our buyers we provide the same for our clients and developers, many of whom are leading UK developers. We guide our client in constructing the ideal development for our market, from size of apartments, specifications and requirements to ensure their product is exactly what the market requires.
Which of the developments Glentree is currently selling do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House? Award? We currently have many developments that stand out but Carmel Gate in Temple Fortune offers a unique development. Glentree has worked extremely closely with our client to create a unique place to live and lifestyle.
An historic Carmelite Monastery, dating back to 1906, the development combines many period features together with contemporary interiors and new-build to create luxury living accommodation. The development offers a variety of apartments, a cottage, mews houses and detached houses. This large selection and choice of properties have appealed to many different buyers from downsizers, first-time buyers and international purchasers and this has established a cosmopolitan feel. A strong appeal to many buyers is the 24-hour concierge and the security of being set behind secure gates.
Prices start from £575,000 subject to contract with the detached seven=bedroom houses up to £4m, subject to contract. Therefore the price range has attracted a wide range of buyers.