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China desk

Over the last three decades, Chinese investors have relied on us as a trusted resource when looking to buy residential properties in London. Our range of services extends from our Shanghai office which forms a first point of contact, to our dynamic China Desk in London which ensures that all stages of the property purchase are smooth, discreet and transparent. Our Shanghai-based personnel regularly visit London in order to keep abreast with the most current property trends, topics and techniques.

With offices in China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore, Benham and Reeves has a reputation for excellence throughout the region. Chinese investors put a great emphasis on trusted relationships as they may not always get to view their target property. They require an estate agent that staffs its China desk with native speakers who can conduct complex negotiations in the relevant languages and see them through from property search to post-completion.

There are distinct advantages for Chinese investors when they work with us:

  • Working closely with our international offices, we can pinpoint the needs of potential investors in China before starting the main search for properties for sale in London. This involves the strategic targeting of requirements so that properties meet the investment needs of a particular client.
  • An in-depth knowledge of the London property market that is based on exhaustive research of both local and international trends. Long-standing links with leading property developers allow us to pass on invaluable knowledge to our clients.
  • Advice concerning financing, legal & tax regulations.
  • Strategic planning that ensures that our client’s property portfolio is giving the best return possible. New areas of London are constantly opening up and as a London estate agent, we can advise how best to exploit the opportunities that they offer.
  • Fair and accurate property valuations are a vital starting point for any serious property plan. When investors are involved in multiple purchases it is important to keep a close eye on overheads. To this end, we seek to ensure that our clients do not pay a penny more than they have to.
  • Investment in a London property that pays immediate dividends is what we all want for our clients. Our capable and experienced staff are experts in taking the hassle out of finding and negotiating with quality tenants.

Meet the Shanghai team

Meet Penny Cheung – Head of China Desk

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Our well-trained sales negotiators are on-hand across London to help you

The London property sales market – July 2021

London’s reputation as a safe haven for property investment is well known. But recent news from the Halifax Index that in March, a year on from the start of the first national lockdown, UK house prices were up 6.5%, the first house price rise in a recession in modern history, was staggering! Our own statistics echo these trends. The number of sales we agreed in May (our latest figures) was up 12% on last year while the number of market appraisal requests we carried out was also up 12%. While London has not seen the same intense level of activity from homebuyers as many other areas of the UK, mainly due to greater uncertainty caused by the pandemic together with reduced demand from overseas buyers due to travel restrictions, there is an upside to this. Overseas investors return to the London property market While in other areas of the UK, demand is likely to settle down by the end of the year, London has not peaked so dramatically but as a result is expected to maintain its momentum, and we are now seeing overseas investors returning to the market in growing numbers. And in fact, in terms of super prime property sales, London has overtaken Hong Kong as the world’s busiest super prime property market, recording a 3% increase to USD 3.75 billion worth of deals in 2020 while transactions in Hong Kong fell 27% and New York fell 48%. So overseas buyers are taking advantage of the weak pound and low interest rates, buoyed by a cautiously optimistic feel to the UK economy as a whole now that the UK’s successful vaccination programme is proving to be so effective. These investors recognise that there is still value to be found in London property and now that the rental market is picking up dramatically, healthy rental incomes are at the forefront of their objectives. Our ‘Saving tax for landlords’ webinar for buy-to-let investors attracts 500 attendees A clear indicator of the current interest from investors was our recent webinar which looked at ways that property investors and buy-to-let landlords can restructure their businesses to be more tax efficient. The webinar was hosted by our Finance Director Vidhur Mehra together with two leading tax experts and examined the most tax-efficient company structures that allow buy-to-let property business owners to remain competitive in a challenging market. With 500 attendees, this was our most successful webinar yet, revealing a clear message from investors that London buy-to-let properties remain a very important part of their overall investment strategy in the future. Go to video hub to view the webinar in full. Homebuyers’ priorities continue to evolve For homeowners, requirements have changed considerably over the last year, as buyers look for more space and ideally some outside space – and for many these requirements are now deal breakers. How the North London property market is changing Let’s look at North London as an example. Demand for studios and one bed flats in Hampstead and the surrounding areas, especially flats without outside space, is currently much lower than before the pandemic. Buyers’ requirements have clearly changed as many now work from home, at least some of the time, while homes have become sanctuaries where we spend much more time than previously so gardens are a ‘must have’ too now. Huge demand for larger properties In contrast, the market for larger family homes and garden flats in Hampstead is red hot right now. Much of this demand is for unmodernised properties in need of a complete refurbishment. Space is at a premium and buyers are willing to take on the hassle of getting the work done themselves if it means they can afford a larger property – something they would previously have avoided. This is highly unusual in North London where pre-pandemic demand was almost exclusively from buyers looking for a house that was modernised and ‘done’. Priorities have clearly changed. Demand settles down after the Stamp Duty holiday deadline Another point to recognise is that sales enquiries have dipped a little recently in Hampstead, Highgate, Belsize Park and Dartmouth Park, because there is no longer any rush to beat the Stamp Duty holiday deadline which has now passed. Anyone buying a property now will have missed the deadline and at best will pay the tapered rate of Stamp Duty (which lasts until September 30th), so market activity has quietened. So potential buyers will probably hold back over the summer, waiting for September when more stock becomes available after the traditional summer lull. Contact our sales team if you are you thinking of selling your North London property For vendors, this is therefore a good time to put your house on the market as there are fewer properties for buyers to choose from. We’ve taken on a number of new instructions recently but still desperately need more stock as there are buyers out there looking, albeit with less urgency than before. So if you are planning to put your property on the market, contact our sales team for a free market valuation.

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