Hamptons International Mayfair Launch
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Hamptons International hosted a successful launch event for its new flagship Mayfair branch on Wednesday evening. Guests included clients of Hamptons International, relocation agents, buying agents as well as other industry experts operating in the Prime Central London property market. 
During the event, Hamptons International's Head of Research, Adam Challis, gave a presentation about the Prime Central London market, focusing specifically on the Mayfair and St James areas.
Key points from the presentation include:

  • Prime Central London sales continue to outperform the wider market, as they have done since mid-2009; however the buyer profile for 2012 looks set to change. In the second half of 2011, a noticeable return of domestic demand was noted and is expected to continue in 2012. 
  • The results of Hamptons International's Q1 nationality tracker to be released next month, will confirm whether UK buyers are becoming more active in the market, supporting house prices at a time when international buyers may be considering options elsewhere. 
  • George Osborne's Budget announcements in two weeks time may have a significant impact on the Prime Central London residential market with issues such as the mansion tax, a higher council tax band, SPV clampdown and the 50 per cent tax rate expected to be raised. 
  • The lettings market shares many of the market drivers of the sales market, but the impacts have been different. Whilst rental prices remain strong, demand at the higher end of the market has softened due to weaker corporate relocation activity.
  • Looking into the figures from Hamptons International's Corporate Relocations team, it is clear that the Financial Business Services sector, alongside Oil and Gas sectors are key players within the Prime rental market. Looking forward, the Olympics are likely to delay the return of strong corporate demand until September, creating a competitive supply environment in the back half of 2012. 
  • Mayfair and St James is beginning to reassert itself as a preeminent residential location, and in particular the west side of Mayfair.   There are two main reasons behind this: Commercial occupiers in inefficient Mayfair offices are able to access more suitable accommodation elsewhere in the West End. More importantly, residential values of townhouses and lateral apartments in Mayfair are well in excess of offices, meaning that there is an appetite from developers to return properties to their residential roots. 
  • As per our 2012 forecasts, we predict that Prime Central property prices will increase by four per cent in 2012, and it is likely that taken together with the resilient market demand, the Mayfair and St James residential market will outperform this.
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