Property Services on International Scale from Cushman & Wakefield

Posted 11 April 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

WhatHouse? speaks exclusively to Mike Bickerton, Head of New Homes at Cushman & Wakefield...

Mike Bickerton, Head of New Homes at Cushman & Wakefield, on London’s enduring status as a global hub, and the popularity of Help to Buy amongst first-time buyers within the Capital.


Please tell us about your role and responsibilities as Head of New Homes at Cushman & Wakefield. 

My role as Head of New Homes at Cushman & Wakefield encompasses providing client advice, design and sales consultancy in the delivery of market facing design and product. I am also responsible for the sales teams within our London and Manchester offices.


Does Cushman & Wakefield offer a variety of property services? 

Cushman & Wakefield offer a comprehensive new homes service, providing ‘cradle to grave’ advice and support. Our teams include land, investment, valuation, planning and sales in both the UK and international markets.


Are there differences in new build trends in London compared with the other countries you operate in? 

London, like most major capital cities, holds a truly global appeal, attracting buyers from many countries, looking to benefit from its status as a financial hub and its world class education. Recent years have seen an increase in demand for new developments from China and South East Asia with over 100,000 overseas students in London, many of whom are from the region. We have seen that many buyers are looking for long-term investments as well as short-term housing for their children during their studies in the city.


What are the main projects you're focusing on in London at the moment? 

Cushman & Wakefield are actively marketing many developments across London. UK buyers are currently particularly drawn to those developments where the Help to Buy purchasing option is available. A good example of this is The Otto which is a very attractive, new development facing onto Hackney Downs, comprising one and two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom duplexes. Buyers love the location as well as the excellent specification and finish.


What advice do you have for anybody looking to buy a new home? 

Buyers should do their research into area values, amenities and infrastructure to ensure that the new home is right for them and within budget. New developments often incorporate a range of resident facilities, from lounges, private dining to high quality spas and pools. Naturally these can result in relatively high annual service charges, which buyers need to take into consideration.


Do your new homes offer a good opportunity for buy-to-let investors? 

New homes are perfect for buy-to-let, with most developers offering a two-year warranty alongside a 10-year build warranty, offering fairly hassle free letting in the early years. Tenants will often pay a slight premium to live in a new build scheme over existing stock. On the flip side, yields are becoming increasingly compressed, as prices rise faster than rents.


Do your new build schemes offer any incentives to buyers?

We are marketing a number of developments that will offer Help to Buy which has been really well received by buyers and particularly first-time buyers. Additionally, some developers are offering part exchange and easy mover schemes to assist those who have related sales. For investors, some developers will offer rent guarantees to take the risk out of finding a tenant and investor furniture packs.


Is there any such thing as a typical London buyer? 

No. The great beauty of London is that it attracts a diverse range of nationality, age and culture all with different requirements.


What's the most exciting interiors trend you're seeing this year? 

Interior specification is increasingly aimed at having global appeal, with some developers even employing Feng Shui experts as an integral part of the design process. The biggest change within new developments is the increasing awareness of the need to create communities rather than just building blocks of apartments. Improved quality of life and social aspects are becoming key criteria for many, which means the wider development amenities and what is provided for residents is as important as the inside of the apartment.


What are your predictions for the London housing market in 2019?  

The London property market tends to be slightly insulated from the UK’s wider market slowdown, with a continuing trend of not enough property being built to meet demand and a continued influx of overseas investment, exacerbated by the weak pound. Whilst 2019 may not see much of an upward curve in house prices, we expect demand to prevent a significant downturn.


For further information please contact Cushman & Wakefield on 020 3296 2222 or visit cushmanwakefieldresidential.com

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