One-on-one interview: Simon Hedley of Druce
Posted 22 October 2015 by Marc Da Silva
Marc Da Silva heads back to the capital to continue his weekly series of interview to speak to Simon Hedley, an estate agent for Druce in fashionable Marylebone, to put the questions to him about the local property market for owner-occupiers and investors.
What makes Marylebone a great place to live?
There is a strong sense of community spirit in Marylebone, with a real village feel despite our central London location. We are lucky enough to have some of the capital’s best restaurants on our doorstep, with the Chiltern Firehouse retaining its status as the city’s most exclusive eatery and our gastronomic credentials being further bolstered this year by the arrival of the Zetter Townhouse, Bernadi’s and Lurra. The shops, theatres and green spaces of the rest of London are all easily accessible from Marylebone, as we have excellent transport links by tube, train and road.
What is local housing market conditions currently like?
Currently the market is starved of stock, with the array of new development in Marylebone not yet at a stage where liveable property is available. As premium units become ready to move into, stock will increase, helping to bolster the market and catalyse higher levels of activity.
What impact has last year’s stamp duty changes had on the local property market?
For the first three quarters of 2015, property prices in Marylebone have remained stable, as people have come to terms with last year’s stamp duty changes, which impact around 70% of our transactions. As the ‘new’ becomes the ‘norm’ I would expect activity to increase once more, consequently pushing up prices.
Have you noticed any particular buying trends recently?
We have certainly seen a growth in the number of buyers coming back into Marylebone who are looking to downsize. Generally, these buyers are looking for smaller, low maintenance, turnkey properties. Many are looking to unlock capital and invest their money in a strong London market, whilst also moving for a new lifestyle.
How much would a home in and around Marylebone typically start from to buy?
A studio apartment would start at between £450,000 and £600,000.
Since your firm launched 18 years ago, approximately how much have residential property prices increased by?
During this time, prices in Marylebone have risen by up to 935%.
Is there room for further capital growth in the near term?
I would expect a price rise of 5% by the end of the year.
What’s your property market prediction for the rest of 2015?
I expect pent up demand in the area for premium property, coupled with a lack of new housing stock including new build homes, to drive up prices.