Specialist London Agent Talks New Homes Market And Current Developments 

Posted 13 December 2017 by Keith Osborne

Alex Greaves of Marsh & Parsons talks through his current new homes portfolio and what will appeal to today's London house-hunters...

This week, we take an expert’s eye on the property market across the capital today, speaking exclusively to Alex Greaves of agent Marsh & Parsons about what is currently on the market and how buyers can get the new build home they want.

Hi Alex, please tell us a little about yourself and Marsh & Parsons

I joined Marsh & Parsons in February 2017, having most recently spent six years at CBRE as a director within their residential development team. My role is head of sales within our new homes team, taking overall responsibility for the sales strategy and ongoing activity on our live projects, as well ensuring we provide excellent service levels to our customers and clients. 

Marsh & Parsons has a fantastic network of 29 local offices spread right across London and the fast-paced but focused culture engrained within the company provides us with the ideal platform to build a very successful new homes business. We are one of the few London agents who truly operates an ‘open register’ database system, which successfully promotes cross-selling throughout our network and this is one of the key reasons I decided to join the business.

What new homes developments are you marketing at the moment?

We have a varied and broad range of live developments and a very exciting launch pipeline for 2018. Our new homes team focuses on projects which contain 10+ units, however we have instructions which are multi-phased and significantly larger than this. We currently have 13 live schemes spread across north, south, east and west London ranging from 11 units in a boutique scheme in Fulham Broadway (Porteus Apartments) to Royal Docks West in E15 which will deliver up to 1,000 homes. We successfully launched the first phase of Royal Docks West for our client Mount Anvil in April.

Do you have a favourite one, and what is it about it that you particularly like?

All our projects are my favourites! In all honesty it’s fantastic to have a diverse range of product to be able to offer our customer base. We have fully complete apartments in design-led boutique buildings, lovely townhouses appealing to families and apartments in larger schemes which are currently off-plan. All of them offer buyers something a little different.

Is demand for new build homes still strong in the areas you cover?

Yes, in general the demand for new build homes remains strong but with increasing supply of private homes, developers need to ensure they produce quality product, which is priced sensibly and marketed effectively – all areas we help our clients with.

Is there a 'hotspot' where demand is strongest, and what has led to that?

This is more value-led rather than a specific location. The first-time buyer market remains particularly buoyant. This segment of the market is heavily supported by the 6th biggest lender in the UK – ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – as well as Help to Buy which continues to be an incredibly popular government initiative which promotes home ownership up to the value of £600,000. The most recent stamp duty change in the Budget has also brought focus to the first-time buyer market – we view this as a positive measure and one which will encourage those particularly in London to make that first step on to the property ladder.

Are there specific reasons that your customers have for choosing new over old?

First and foremost it’s very enticing for purchasers to move into a brand new property where no one else has lived. This brings with it the advantages of developer and appliance warranties as well as modern features, fixtures and fittings. Added to this, many developments offer additional on-site amenities like a concierge service, lift, communal gardens, parking and onsite retail. In addition, a managing agent for the scheme will always be in place to look after the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the communal parts and will organise building insurance and energy suppliers for the residents. All these features help create a convenient and low-maintenance lifestyle for residents.

Purchasers who are looking to commit off-plan, before a development is complete tend to benefit from a greater choice of units and are sometimes able to choose between specification and pallet options which is always popular. Moreover, the staged deposit payment process allows purchasers to plan ahead and accumulate funds over a longer period of time rather than having to have the full deposit ready at the point of exchange which would be the case on a traditional purchase.

Are there specific procedures, costs and timings that potential new build buyers should consider?

On almost all our new build schemes, purchasers pay a fee at the point of reservation. The reserved unit is then removed from the market and usually an exchange deadline is set for 28 days from the receipt of draft contracts. The staged deposit process will depend on the scheme and the length of time until practical completion.

What are your predictions for the new homes market in 2018?

The uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations creates a degree of caution in the market, however mortgage rates remain extremely low and the long-term outlook for London for and the market in the capital is positive.

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