One-on-one interview: Vic Chhabria of Rescorp Residential
This time, Marc Da Silva turns his gaze to St John’s Wood, northwest London, to continue his weekly series of interview with senior figures in the property industry. He puts the questions to Vic Chhabria, managing director at Rescorp Residential
What makes St John’s Wood a great place to live?
St John’s Wood has been my home for over 30 years and it is truly one of the best places to live in London. It’s a lovely, leafy suburb of London and in some places it really reflects a country village, but in other areas it’s upmarket and fashionable. There is always something new to do or experience in the area, from leisurely walks in Regent’s Park or Primrose Hill, a visit to a warm welcoming pub or exploring the eclectic mix of independent shops, cafes, delis and restaurants.
For years the NW8 postcode has been highly desired by many, including families, students and young professionals wanting an easy commute into the city and central London. There are a number of educational establishments in the area including state and private schools, international schools and universities such as The American School and The London Business School.
How long has your firm been selling properties in St John’s Wood?
Rescorp Residential is now in its sixth year and has become well-known in St John’s Wood and the surrounding areas. In 2009, I set up the Rescorp Residential website and began to develop a boutique property service offering properties both for sale and to let.
Where in St John’s Wood do you currently have homes available?
Rescorp Residential has a range of homes available for rent and sale in St John’s Wood. Recent new instructions include a fabulously large two-bedroom apartment on Avenue Road, opposite Regent’s Park and a three-bedroom apartment on Grove End Road, which gives fantastic views of the London skyline and Lord’s Cricket Ground.
What types of properties are on offer?
A lot of our properties are within historical buildings of the type found in St John’s Wood. We do also have a mix of traditional and newer build apartments and penthouses for sale and rent, many of these tend to be used as pieds-à-terre.
What are housing market conditions like in St John’s Wood?
The past year has been a very interesting time for St John’s Wood. The area is highly desirable and it seems more and more people are recognising the benefits of living in the area, which in turn is really pushing property prices up. There has been a 10.8% increase in rental values across the area in the last 12 months. This is the highest recorded growth across prime central London.
Have you noticed any particular buying trends in and around St John’s Wood recently?
Absolutely. In the main, people are looking for space, location, security and parking. However, we’ve found that a growing number of buyers prefer to buy a property that can literally be moved into on day one. Refurbished properties already supplied with suitable furniture, soft furnishings and even cutlery eliminate the post moving-in stress and thus make the property even more appealing.
What impact is the looming general election having on the local housing market?
Although some homeowners are waiting on the outcome of the general election before making any major movements towards selling their properties, we’ve taken on far more instructions in these past winter months compared to previous years. At the same time rent prices are not really reducing either due to the perception that there is a lack of properties available for sale.
What’s your property market prediction for the rest of 2015?
Values in prime central London will continue to grow but not at the same rate that they have in recent years. St John’s Wood will continue to be a popular choice, with property values expected to continue to rise in the coming months. Other London locations such as Soho, Stratford and areas south of the river will see a faster growth due to further continued development in these areas. I also believe there will be an increase in those looking to make investments outside of prime central London, particularly those from the Asian and Far Eastern community.