Article 1

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 London Mayoral election and with the subsequent win, Sadiq Khan has attracted considerable media attention with...


What will a new Mayor and a potential Brexit do to London’s Prime property market?

1 June, 2016

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 London Mayoral election and with the subsequent win, Sadiq Khan has attracted considerable media attention with his rigorous campaign to resolve the UK housing crisis. In his Manifesto, Mr Khan defines the UK housing crisis as one beset by a shortage of affordable homes, especially for individuals living in London. With proposals including building affordable homes on brownfield land with first preference to purchase can be given to native Londoners, this initiative may open new opportunities for large scale investors looking to expand to areas in outer London.

However the details of the new housing policies are yet to be refined and stiff opposition is expected from many of London’s private developers and agency bodies with regards to affordable housing quotas in new schemes and rent caps. With a campaign emphatically centered on affordability and availability, it is difficult to foresee notable implications for individuals seeking to purchase residential and commercial properties above the million pound bracket in Prime Central London.

With the new mayor now elected, the focus returns to whether Britain will remain in the European Union. With only four weeks remaining until UK residents make their decision, heated debates for and against a ‘Brexit’ have inescapably influenced the UK property industry. With many extreme scenarios and viewpoints being reiterated by the media and Westminster, it is important to focus on the tangible and plausible impacts on the London and UK property market.

Should a ‘Stay’ vote succeed, latent demand is likely to revert causing a busy market in the second half of the year, similar to that seen with the Scottish referendum – leading to a more competitive market in the latter half of 2016, which may harden yields in the commercial sector as confidence and investors return.

However should a ‘Leave’ vote prevail, it is the uncertainty in the following negotiations and the overriding market sentiment that will take precedence. The key negative impacts will be the likely short term loss of confidence or certainty in the market, potentially removing jobs, GDP & FDI from the economy and subsequently impacting the rental market. There is also the risk of potential decreases in asset values and a more apprehensive market than we are experiencing.

On the other hand, a Brexit depreciated sterling will be a boon for dollar denominated wealth, potentially mitigating some of the ‘market downturn’ during the negotiations period. Some more ambitious figures estimate a near 20% sterling depreciation should Britain leave the EU. Whatever the outcome, the weaker pound and currency arbitrage will enable foreign buyers to take advantage of the market, such as we’ve seen with recent SDLT increases. Furthermore the options made available to the government to reduce or increase regulation or transparency concerning foreign ownership of UK property will have a further impact on investment and sentiment in this scenario.

Either way, London’s virtue as a financial hub and gateway to Europe will remain, the language and top tier education, legal & political systems and renowned healthcare services all maintain the capital’s magnetism.”

Thus it is forecast that the forward emphasis will be on necessity purchases and income driven investments. Fortunately Taxand’s Total Tax Take (T3) research has reinforced that the UK remains one of the cheapest countries for residential and commercial property investors. An average total tax take of 9.35% on residential property rents puts the UK in third place behind Poland and Romania and well ahead of the likes of say, South Africa; which despite having the world’s best value per square meter {Knight Frank Wealth Report 2016}, conversely has the one of the world’s highest levels of rental taxation at 19.58% for commercial property rents and 24.17% for residential rents.

With the recent ONS House Price Index revealing the largest annual increase in UK Housing price inflation was in London at 13.0% (up from 9.3% in the year to February 2016) and with market leaders still forecasting a 3% rise in real London property prices despite Brexit fears, London property continues to exhibit its resilience and investor appeal. 

Article 2

Whilst spring is often one of the busiest seasons of the year for the London property market, the various taxation changes and subdued political...


2016 sees slow start to London’s Prime property market

28 April, 2016

Whilst spring is often one of the busiest seasons of the year for the London property market, the various taxation changes and subdued political sentiments have left 2016 off to a ‘slower’ start than usual. As with previous elections and key political events, uncertainty breeds apprehension and many purchasers choose to wait until the markets have unfolded and corrected. However the current state of affairs still allows for confident buyers to make astute purchases.


Market sentiment and speculation around Brexit has led to a weakening of the Sterling against major currencies such as the US Dollar and Euro, consequently providing greater purchasing power in a UK market already veering in the foreign buyer’s favour. These relative FX improvements for those with foreign currency denominated holdings have enabled purchasers to make extra savings on residential and commercial acquisitions. We has seen a number of £20m+ buyers enter a market where combined FX savings and reduced prime central asking prices have helped to mitigate the SDLT increases that many commented would stifle the industry. As polls foresee slimmer chances of the UK leaving Europe, confidence in the pound is returning. This reduced risk premium for Sterling has subsequently seen it achieve three week highs against the Euro, slowly closing the window for Euro/ Sterling exchanges.


The Capital’s attraction and market resilience holds its own, with desirable payment terms in the new build sector helping to reduce upfront costs and maintain interest. These staggered payment structures, along with discounts and timely FX plays, have encouraged domestic and international investment into the sector. The current state of the new build sector has encouraged considerable discounts, with multiple purchases approaching the 20% saving mark; Crown Mayfair’s statistics testifying to these levels over the past two quarters. This primarily relates to new developments in regeneration areas such as Earls Court, Canary Wharf and Greenwich, as well as stock in prime locations where declining sales and higher associated costs have left more bargaining power in the hands of the purchaser.


The current market is certainly more price sensitive, whereby 49% of properties across prime central had asking prices reduced in Q1 2016, with transactions on average -9.1% below initial asking and -11.1% for £5m+ properties (source: Knight Frank, Lonres). Market consensus, reinforced by transaction data, highlights the importance of sensitive pricing, as savvy buyers will only commit where good value is found, whilst ambitiously priced stock will struggle to gain traction.


It remains to be seen how the markets will evolve as elections and referendums unfold, nevertheless opportunities are available for those eager and prepared to seize them.

Article 3

Belgravia based eprivateclient Top 25 Property Buyers, Crown Mayfair, has experienced first-hand the effects of changing UK property legislation since the Autumn Budget in...


Top 25 Property Buyer looks to provide rounded and full service amid volatile times

19 January, 2016

Belgravia based eprivateclient Top 25 Property Buyers, Crown Mayfair, has experienced first-hand the effects of changing UK property legislation since the Autumn Budget in 2014.


Providing source and acquisition solutions to private clients seeking both homes and investments, chief executive Kate Bond told eprivateclient that “even with these increased associated costs for our clients, we have still observed a strong appetite for London property, especially over the past 6 months after market readjustments. We entered into the festive season with a number of happy clients and similarly start the year on another positive note with a wave of new enquiries. It remains to be seen how the recent SDLT changes will have an impact however we anticipate a market settlement period post April. A number of long term clients have also prioritised purchases within this first quarter.”


Tracy Haddow, Crown Mayfair’s head of concierge, agreed, adding that providing a quality service and expert advice to clients was crucial: “With global markets so volatile, clients are certainly being more shrewd with their spending, it pays dividend to have the right advice and representation when purchasing property. We recently provided an in depth inventory for one of our clients to offset against their substantial tax liability.”


Tracy, who has been in her current role at Crown Mayfair for the past six years, has also taken on the position of Head of Property Management. This logical transition allows for her experience to be more fully utilised, ensuring management and concierge of the most personable standards. Client’s find maintaining a single point of contact essential for effective long term care.


She comments, “As with many internationals, the process starts with education on the UK property market however the aftercare is just as important as finding and acquiring the right home. Last year we had international client purchase an extensive family home in the Royal Estates, further afield from our prime central base. We negotiated a year’s free grounds keeping and pool maintenance into the contract, provided due diligence on schooling and healthcare in the surrounding area, sourced hotels, introduced experts and since we have continued to visit the family to ensure their satisfaction.”


Kate added that she maintains in her belief that examples such as these highlight the firm’s willingness to pertain to clients’ needs and provide a service that supersedes simple monetary value.


“This in itself is why we have such long standing relationships with our clients & families and we endeavour to sustain and improve these values further well in to the future.”


Article 4

Abode2 – Volume 2 – Issue 9 – Chelsea Special – Crown Mayfair Interview

Abode2 – Volume 2 – Issue 9 – Chelsea Special – Crown Mayfair Interview

29 June, 2015

Stevie King meets Kate Bond, CEO of luxury property search and acquisition consultancy Crown Mayfair and discovers why Chelsea remains a top-tier location for real estate investment.


Voted one of ePrivate Client’s Top 25 Residential Property Buyers, Crown Mayfair is one of London’s finest acquisition consultancies, sourcing and purchasing property on behalf of private clients and investors since 2008. With an extensive career in the London property market, CEO and founder Kate Bond created the consultancy with the intention of providing bespoke property services, built on trust, transparency and integrity. In the last few years alone, the company has sourced in excess of £250 million worth of residential real estate, nearly 40% of which being acquired in Chelsea and half of this as super prime trophy assets.


“Crown Mayfair has built a strong and extensive network within the industry which enables us to frequently target desired locations, opportunities and entire developments, many of which have yet to come to the open market,” explains Kate. “In fact, our statistics show that 40% of the properties we have acquired for clients have been off market. In an environment with such high demand and often restricted supply, having this off market capability can make all the difference in finding and securing the right property.”


As London’s second smallest Borough, Kensington and Chelsea is also one of the most populous places in the country; property demand is consistently high and it remains evident that the riverside region maintains its postcode prestige within the capital. As rich in history as it is in high value property, the Royal Borough has been home to peasants and pig farmers, writers and royalty and in modern times, a plethora of celebrities and high net worths.


The variety of property on offer is similarly as diverse, from prestigious mansion blocks and stucco fronted terracing to new luxury riverside developments and town houses. Kate comments: “Diversity is something we stress to our clients, creating a broad portfolio with varying property types helps spread risk, appeal to various tenancy sectors and provides reliable sources of income. It is this diversity, combined with the amenities and reputation that makes Chelsea such an attractive area to live and to invest.”

Article 5

International investment in prime central London is booming – CEO Crown Mayfair

International investment in prime central London is booming – CEO Crown Mayfair

19 March, 2015

Eprivateclient caught up with Crown Mayfair Ltd’s Kate Bond, chief executive officer at the privately owned, search and acquisition consultancy and Top 25 residential property buyer.

Crown Mayfair deals with a HNW and UHNW client base in search of a personal residence, family home or investment purchases within prime central London and counties in the South East of England.

Ms Bond describes the company as a discreet and bespoke consultancy who pride themselves on building strong, trusted and lasting relationships with clients. “We believe that in order to provide clients with a truly personal, impartial and effective service, it is vital our clients have a single, reliable point of contact from introduction to completion.”
Crown Mayfair was established in 2008, and Ms Bond has seen the company go from strength to strength. Personally securing around £200 million worth of property over the last two years, Kate began her property career back in 1997 working for Laings. From here, she went into portfolio management for an asset management firm based in Mayfair, dealing with multi-million pound property Portfolios. Wanting to strengthen her property knowledge, she decided in 2005 to join one of London’s leading estate agencies, Hamptons International, based in Knightsbridge. As an ARLA Qualified lettings manager, she focused her attentions on building close relationships with investors and developers.

Following Hamptons International, Ms Bond moved on to work as a senior buying consultant for a Mayfair based search and acquisition consultancy, working with international private clients. After two years, Kate then decided to create a company with the intention of providing a bespoke acquisition service that doesn’t compromise the client for the sake of completing deals. The clients’ interests take precedence over the firm’s.

With a team of six, Ms Bond describes her business as similar to a “small family office set up.” Crown Mayfair are in constant contact with private banks, trust companies, architects, accountancy, tax and law firms to make sure all her clients’ needs are met. Kate and her team, including associate director Alex Dawkins, have an extensive knowledge of the prime central London market and an impressive reputation amongst clients for offering a uniquely personal and professional service.

Crown Mayfair’s client base covers a wide array of backgrounds and nationalities, yet is predominantly made up of West African and Middle Eastern clients looking for a second home in London. Kate states that most international clients are attracted to London’s economic safety, culture, prestige and well trusted educational system. Chelsea is still one destination of choice, according to Ms Bond, with mansion blocks and regeneration projects also increasing in popularity.

Other key locations Crown Mayfair acquire property in are Mayfair, Kensington, St James’s and Buckingham Gate. The introduction of the Cross Rail in 2018/19 has also created considerable property value uplift in currently undervalued areas according to Ms Bond. Areas such as Farringdon, Hannover Square and especially Paddington are all villages of value. “Despite London’s notoriously high prices, we always strive for the best deals for our clients and there is still value to be found in certain areas if you know when and where to look,” she assured.

It has been reported that the over-saturation of the London property market in recent years, has made it increasingly difficult to find investments with sufficient traction to make them appealing and viable. At Crown Mayfair however, the team remains enthusiastically confident that they are able to find properties for clients that will not only weather any potential drop in the market, but result in healthy long-term returns.

This confidence is largely attributed to the continual analysis the company undertakes of the capital’s postcodes, ensuring the team consistently locates the best value pockets, streets and villages. “It is also down to the access we are given to properties not yet on the open market by varying sources who respect our name and reputation,” says Kate, “This is where it pays to be among the best and not the biggest”.

In fact for 2014, an impressive 40% of properties purchased by Crown Mayfair have been off market and average saving to clients was 7.3%, with some distinguished deals achieving reductions of nearly 50% and some in property brackets exceeding £95 million. The company’s relationships with developers have also enabled the team to secure unique properties at attractive rates, specifically tailored to the client’s specifications.

Crown Mayfair also offers a post-purchase after care service, headed by ex-wealth manager Tracy Haddow. Providing an all-inclusive concierge service to their clients, Crown Mayfair seeks to pertain to all of their client’s needs, from start to finish and beyond. In conjunction with this, the firm has recently commenced its in house property management service.

Yet, Ms Bond stands by wanting to keep the team small, tightly knit and dependable. “We are bridging the gap between other property firms. We are thoroughly communicative with our clients, offering a truly impartial service, with the client’s best interests at the forefront.” Kate adds, “Our repeat business is significant, I have one client on their fifth property with us. We place great importance on genuine relationship building and this is supported by our long term and repeat client associations.”

Politics, taxation and the prime London property market have been a hot topic for media and investment minds alike. The latest update from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement revealed a vast change in the UK’s Stamp Duty reform, moving towards a progressive tax system and particularly looking to gain higher revenues from higher value properties. With the sudden SDLT reforms having the tight midnight deadline on the 3rd December, the Crown Mayfair team managed to exchange on 4 deals, saving clients in excess of £1,000,000 in potential SDLT increases.

The team comments that the reforms will evidently benefit those below £937, 000, yet for those in higher brackets, the core clientele for Crown Mayfair, stamp duty costs will be considerably more. The reforms to the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) are also adding to costs for those in the higher end of the market. Ms Bond stated “The real impact of these reforms on international investment will become clear over the next few quarters. However it is evident that the main burden of this tax will be accommodated by the likes of our clients. In light of the changes, we believe the market will acclimatise swiftly. Demand for property in prime central London is generally unwavering and always substantial. We remain confident as always and this is where our expertise really comes into its own.”


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