It has been interesting and challenging times since I joined Benham and Reeves in April 2019. During my first year, I managed to sell a number of units in Central London when the market was slow due to the uncertainty of Brexit in UK. It was tough all round in Singapore as many investors had already invested in London and most of them have multiple units. Therefore, they were hoping to ‘resell’ rather than purchase but the resale market was not as bullish as it had previously been and was slow. On the whole, it was a tough 2019 but I still managed to do a fair amount of sales during my first year.
All eyes were on me in 2020 when we thought Brexit is finally over on January 31st and we could start to look forward to some good transaction levels as more enquiries had already started channelling through. Unfortunately, we were all caught by surprise with the arrival of Covid-19 towards the end of February which prompted a London lockdown in March followed by lockdown Singapore in April 2020. All hopes were dampened and the thought of how the business is going to survive ran through my mind.
Looking back at my second year at Benham and Reeves I really had the Government of Singapore and the Benham & Reeves Directors to be thankful as both gave us the support in terms of wage supplements and patience and time to recover from Covid.
From April to August 2020 Singapore was dead-quiet yet we commenced our sales seminars via Zoom with a record number of attendees and I must say we had a good response from these meetings. The interest level for investing in London property was very high and this gave me the confidence to continue to persevere in the knowledge that good times will soon return.
During the month of September, when we decided to open new offices in the Raffles Hotel Arcade Singapore, this worked out to be a good move for us. Of course, this was a bold move during the pandemic and being a market leader in this business we were confident of our success in associating ourselves with this esteemed, globally renowned Hotel. Our investors and clients love our move and there seems to be more people visiting us at our new premises which generated more activities. Most of these buyers had previously dealt with me before and, I believe, it is because of my reputation, knowledge of London property and trust that I had gained over the years that brought the buyers back during these challenging times.
It was also during this period that we had to be very selective on products as well as to think out of the box for creating the right activity for our previous clients and buyers to participate in. With safe distancing and many more rules and regulations to follow, we have to ensure our clients’ safety is our utmost priority. This has become challenging but we still manage to attract old and new clients and investors to our events.
With my 20+ years of experience, market knowledge and connections this continues to work out well and I am grateful for the trust that people have placed in me over these years. It is humbling to be told that when clients think of investing in London, the first person they would think of is me.
Recently we also had our first event outside of our office at Gardens by the Bay where we hosted a joint event with Berkeley Group and invited select clients on-board the Orient Express. This gave us the opportunity to thank our buyers who had supported me all these years and to generate more interest in London properties.
With the continued support from our London head office and the unique set up of Benham and Reeves’ international offices, we are poised to be even stronger and more dynamic when current pandemic restrictions ease. I’m looking forward to better times ahead.
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