To the casual observer, recent trends in the London ultra-prime property market have led to a drought of deals. Enter Rory Penn, a man who runs marathons across deserts for fun. If ever there were a man to find value and opportunity in this market, it’s Penn, racing across the wastelands of reluctant sellers to the oasis of attractive valuation investment. Penn joined VanHan in 2013 during a management-led buyout, bringing 14 years of experience to the firm as well as qualifications as both a Chartered Surveyor and Investment Manager. This dual experience in both real estate and investment management has kept VanHan a thriving business during tough times. Penn recognises that ‘it’s been a difficult year for the industry’, as ‘transaction levels in the industry are down’. Despite this, VanHan has ‘taken on more business in the last 12 months than in the previous five years’: no mean feat even as ultra-prime residential has seen price reductions of 10 to 20 per cent. It is somewhat unusual for an adviser to UHNW individuals to come out in favour of increased regulation. However, Penn sees the move away from an unregulated market as beneficial, pushing out the dirty money and letting the good in. Penn has an unwavering confidence in the long-term resilience of the London market: for the right asset, he says, it ‘remains an absolute must for UHNW investors’. With this outlook, it’s worth having an agent who understands that the property market is a marathon, not a sprint.
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