Ten years ago the view of the property market generally, including luxury property, was not looking promising. Now I believe the luxury global housing sector specifically is thriving and has become a significant element within the whole of the market. Luxury property is a sector in a league of its own and has gradually adopted the codes of the luxury world, which are generally founded on superior quality, “God is in the details”, recognisable and reassuring, exclusive membership, loyalty to clients and long-term trust.
In Surrey specifically, the luxury housing market is growing and has become the most liquid market for millionaires outside London. With the international elite moving in, the area offers private estates with security, superb schools, green spaces and proximity to airports, road and rail networks, all within an hour of London. Being so close to the capital, but with options to buy historic properties, or self-build, we are seeing steady growth in this particular market.
We’ve noticed that the super-prime property markets of Surrey are outperforming prime central London. In the past year price growth in the boroughs that include St George’s Hill and Wentworth, as well as the nearby areas of Englefield Green, Oxshott, Ascot, Esher and Cobham, was 14.1 per cent (Runnymede) and 9 per cent (Elmbridge), with prime central London only 1.1 per cent.
Whilst in central London it’s not easy to knock down a house and build a bespoke property; in Surrey, apart from some restrictions on height and plot size, planning is fairly relaxed, giving the market an advantageous appeal. And the sales of grand homes in exclusive estates in the area are outstripping those in central London.
In the current dynamic climate, I believe there is a change in the way Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) buy houses. As the outlook on Brexit becomes clearer, this represents an opportunity for these buyers to purchase properties at good value on a medium term basis, with potential for the pound to strengthen. We are finding that this scenario is proving attractive to buyers coming into the UK looking to make a profit on their investment while they wait for that strengthening. London, Surrey and surrounding areas are popular with our Middle Eastern, Indian and Russian buyers.
So how does a millionaire choose where to live in north Surrey? For £10 million there are relatively fewer choices in Esher and Oxshott, but a house and small garden in St George’s Hill or Wentworth for instance offers an average property price of £5.9 million, and two acres at Wentworth for £7.4 million.
Clients who come to the UK wanting a proper country estate with parkland, space for horses and staff cottages, like many Middle Eastern families, are finding locations such as Englefield Green, the first place on the M4 out of London, the place to look. Plots are sized between five and hundred acres either side of Wick Lane, and key estates cost more than £10 million, most more than £20 million.
As London loses its crown as the top global destination in which to invest, Surrey and surrounding areas are offering significant investment opportunities. Runnymede, for instance, is showing growth by as much as 14% last year for properties over £2 million. I believe the growth looks set to continue.
BARNES Private Office manages the investment, enhancement and realisation of real estate, and other assets, on behalf of some of the world’s most affluent individuals. A division of BARNES International Realty, with access to a global network of over 70 offices, BARNES Private Office is headquartered in London and has access to over £5 billion of global real estate, including leading properties in prime central London, the Home Counties and Surrey.