It has been an exciting year for Knight Frank’s Knightsbridge-based property guru, having exchanged on over 80 per cent of the transactions agreed before the EU referendum.
The result ‘got a lot of people off the fence’, he says, and subsequently, ‘there’s a perception of value again in the market in the golden postcodes’ of SW1 and SW7.
The Brexit vote might have destabilised the UK currency, but des Forges sees the fall
as an opportunity to drive in more international buyers than ever, especially from the Middle East, bringing the previously bearish second home marketplace to equilibrium. The fundamentals of London residential properties are still strong, and he says the City is still seen as ‘an asset class of the world’.
The new-build market has gained more traction this year, and ‘most developers are in the real world,’ he says, as they are still trying to woo overseas buyers, who prefer homes with a more modern finish rather than a period charm. They sometimes ‘benchmark their homes against the hotels they say in’ during the visit to London, he adds.
With UK homes gaining worldwide interest, des Forges says Knight Frank’s ‘global network’ of contacts makes it stand out: ‘We have a global reach into the pools of wealth around the world. With prime new homes, we go out and see buyers from around the world. Having those tentacles into all those pockets of wealth, from Asia to the Middle East to North America, we are able to drive up more buyers than our competitors.’