Connect with us

Real Estate

London is now the biggest market in the world for top-end homes. So who buys them?

Published

on

As one of the most expensive residential property purchases ever made public, it was inevitable that Telis Mistakidis would hit the headlines when he bought his £46.1million London apartment.

The Greek tycoon’s 7,900-square-foot Belgravia duplex was one of six built by Candy & Candy in the capital’s former BT telephone exchange. 

From the extravagant staff quarters to the hefty £3.2 million stamp duty bill, every decadent detail of the sale was pored over in 2015.

Every detail, that is, apart from the name of the woman who brokered the deal.

In the background, guiding negotiations at every stage, was property agent Becky Fatemi, whose exclusive firm the retired mining mogul Mistakidis, 58, had enlisted.

‘He wanted something extremely “trophy” and unique,’ recalls sharply dressed Londoner Becky, 44, who says a small development was also paramount to protect his privacy.

‘He didn’t want to get in the lift and see a fellow billionaire every time.’

Guiding negotiations at every stage, was property agent Becky Fatemi (pictured), whose exclusive firm the retired mining mogul Mistakidis, 58

Guiding negotiations at every stage, was property agent Becky Fatemi (pictured), whose exclusive firm the retired mining mogul Mistakidis, 58

She closed the deal in just 48 hours. But in order for high-stakes property sales to happen at such breakneck speed, they require an army of staff. 

‘You walk into a boardroom to have these negotiations, working with six or seven lawyers,’ she explains. 

‘The team that works around this type of buyer and their spending power is huge.’

This week, it was revealed that the super-rich bought more homes in London than in any city in the world last year, spending around £3 billion on ‘super-prime’ properties — those costing more than £10 million.

And on Thursday it emerged that Nick Candy, one half of Candy & Candy, had put his own apartment in One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, on the market for £175 million. Astonishingly, he is already said to have offers.

Little wonder, then, that the services of prime property agents such as Becky, who source and sell homes for the world’s wealthiest people, are more sought after than ever.

This week, it was revealed that the super-rich bought more homes in London than in any city in the world last year. Pictured: Heathfield House UK Sotheby's International Realty

This week, it was revealed that the super-rich bought more homes in London than in any city in the world last year. Pictured: Heathfield House UK Sotheby’s International Realty

Their roles have come under the spotlight thanks to Selling Sunset, the popular Netflix reality television series documenting the roller coaster careers of glamorous agents at Los Angeles brokerage firm the Oppenheim Group, who bicker and scheme as they bag commissions on some of the most fabulous real estate imaginable.

So how does the lot of their London counterparts compare? And what is it really like scouring the capital’s most breathtaking homes and brokering multi-million-pound deals for a living?

From hiring private jets for whirlwind viewings to having a rapper client who believed Buckingham Palace ‘beneath him’ and selling a £40 million property whose master bedroom was the size of an ordinary house, Becky has seen it all.

‘I think we make it look glamorous,’ says Becky, whose prime estate agency, Rokstone, has made more than £1.4 billion of sales in ten years. 

‘We’re working in a glamorous environment — but we’re hustlers at the end of the day. It’s highly volatile.’

Gazumpings and bidding wars are just the beginning of the stresses these prime agents face.

But money certainly helps, as Mathew Walters, 35, (pictured) and Stuart Aikman, 42, founders of boutique prime property agency Story of Home

But money certainly helps, as Mathew Walters, 35, (pictured) and Stuart Aikman, 42, founders of boutique prime property agency Story of Home

‘Once, a very successful banker who missed out on a sealed bid for a £5 million home turned up to my office foaming at the mouth and asking how he was going to explain to his wife that he’d lost the house. 

‘It was frightening. We had to lock the door,’ says Becky, who was forced to call the police.

A post-Brexit price drop, low interest rates and lack of supply have led to the current ‘crazy’ market, she says, with three buyers competing for her most recent sale, an £18 million, 4,300-square-foot Knightsbridge home with four bedrooms, two kitchens and the ‘most unbelievable’ decor.

The sellers were a British couple who had outgrown the house after their children moved out, and the buyers were British too, something Becky sees a lot more of these days: ‘When I started I was working with a lot of Greeks and Iranians. Now I work a lot more with domestic UK buyers.’

Prohibited by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) from revealing to whom she sold her most expensive home, which cost ‘in excess’ of £100 million, she has clients in entertainment and law, finance and technology.

She’s housed a former prime minister and searched for properties for singers Rihanna, Beyonce and Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy.

‘Puffy wanted to be surrounded by acres of land in the middle of London,’ smiles Becky. ‘We actually drove past Buckingham Palace and he said, “I love that, but everyone can see inside.” ’

Sellers and buyers come to her via her 65,000-strong contact database. ‘Everything we do is referral work,’ says Becky, who started her career at Foxtons, where she became the highest banking agent in the company’s history — a title she still holds.

The super rich are estimated to have spent around £3 billion on ¿super-prime¿ properties last year¿ those costing more than £10 million. Pictured: Anchor Brewhouse UK Sotheby's Realty

The super rich are estimated to have spent around £3 billion on ‘super-prime’ properties last year— those costing more than £10 million. Pictured: Anchor Brewhouse UK Sotheby’s Realty

‘She has a staff of six female agents at Rokstone, which she founded in 2011. ‘I don’t advertise. I don’t send touting letters.’

Once she’s found a potential buyer, she assesses whether their money is ‘clean or dirty’. 

Around 10 per cent are vetoed on account of not being able to prove where they made their money.

‘Understanding where the money comes from is a big issue for us. If you can’t provide a paper trail to show the source of your wealth, you can’t buy a property.’

Becky brings many prospective buyers who live abroad to Britain on a private jet.

‘I work closely with a private jet company and have all the hotels on speed dial — [clients] usually stay in the Connaught, Lanesborough or Berkeley,’ she says, adding that most bring a security team to viewings to assess ‘fire exits, points of entry, to see if a panic room can be installed, before the offer is put in’.

While her twentysomething technology entrepreneurs and YouTuber star clients seek new-builds on the River Thames — ‘they all want the same thing: river views, underground parking, balconies’ — some of her sales, such as the converted Knightsbridge church that sold for £40 million to a ‘high-profile Middle Eastern’ client, beggar belief.

‘It had a glass cylinder hydraulic lift, three kitchens, a swimming pool and a 2,500-square-foot master bedroom — the equivalent size of a three-bedroom flat,’ she says.

¿Their privacy is so key that they only want one point of contact ¿ me,¿ says buying agent Hannah Aykroyd, (pictured) managing director of Aykroyd & Co, who advises high net-worth individuals on prime London properties.

‘Their privacy is so key that they only want one point of contact — me,’ says buying agent Hannah Aykroyd, (pictured) managing director of Aykroyd & Co, who advises high net-worth individuals on prime London properties.

She earns around 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent commission per sale — so £140,000 on a £7 million deal — but if it doesn’t go through, she doesn’t get paid a penny.

It’s stressful, she admits, ‘especially when you spend four years trying to sell and then the owner changes their mind’.

Her own home is a relatively modest two-bedroom flat in Marylebone, North West London, which she shares with her seven-year-old son.

‘I would love to move to a house with a garden, but can’t afford it because of the stamp duty,’ she says. Not that she envies her billionaire clients. 

‘They usually feel displaced. There is no simplicity to their lives.’ True. 

But money certainly helps, as Mathew Walters, 35, and Stuart Aikman, 42, founders of boutique prime property agency Story of Home discovered recently, when a Swiss banker flew by private jet to see a £5 million, eight-bedroom Georgian property they were selling — with a swimming pool and off-street parking — before buying it and flying home the same afternoon.

With demand so strong, they recently brokered a bidding war on a house ‘over £6 million’ between international clients who had only seen the property via video link.

Stuart once agreed a £9.35 million offer from a Middle Eastern princess for a Georgian townhouse in Marylebone, before flying to Las Vegas for a wedding and handing over the sale to Mathew to complete.

‘When I landed, I asked how it was going,’ recalls Stuart. ‘He said contracts had been exchanged — but not with my buyer.’

On Thursday it emerged that Nick Candy, one half of Candy & Candy, had put his own apartment in One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, on the market for £175 million. Pictured: Stuart Aikman property Belsize Park Firehouse

On Thursday it emerged that Nick Candy, one half of Candy & Candy, had put his own apartment in One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, on the market for £175 million. Pictured: Stuart Aikman property Belsize Park Firehouse

In the space of Stuart’s ten-hour flight, Mathew took a call from a representative of a San Francisco technology entrepreneur: ‘He said, “I hear this building is under offer. My guy wants it.” He told me to ask the owner what he needed to do to acquire it,’ says Mathew.

‘The owner said if the second buyer paid the asking price of £10 million and exchanged contracts today, he’d swap buyers.’ And so he did.

While pools and off-street parking are de rigueur, some properties come with unexpected quirks, such as a fish tank built into the floor of one client’s bedroom and en-suite, ‘so the fish were swimming round the bath,’ says Stuart.

Even the most stylish designer finishes are subject to the whim of the buyer. ‘You’d be amazed how many people spend £10 million on an amazing property then rip it out completely,’ says Mathew.

Given concerns around their privacy and the cut-throat nature of the market, increasing numbers of wealthy clients hire buying agents to act in their interests, scout out the best homes and secure viewings.

‘Their privacy is so key that they only want one point of contact — me,’ says buying agent Hannah Aykroyd, managing director of Aykroyd & Co, who advises high net-worth individuals on prime London properties.

‘People don’t want the entire world looking at the internals of their property. An incredible art collection can be worth far more than the property itself, so there’s no way that sellers are going to allow pieces of art to be photographed,’ says Hannah, 35, who lives in West London with her husband and two small children.

From hiring private jets for whirlwind viewings to having a rapper client who believed Buckingham Palace ¿beneath him¿ and selling a £40 million property whose master bedroom was the size of an ordinary house, Becky has seen it all. Pictured: Ovington Square UK Sotheby's International Realty

From hiring private jets for whirlwind viewings to having a rapper client who believed Buckingham Palace ‘beneath him’ and selling a £40 million property whose master bedroom was the size of an ordinary house, Becky has seen it all. Pictured: Ovington Square UK Sotheby’s International Realty

She adds that she often doesn’t reveal the names of celebrity buyers to agents until they put an offer in — and then ‘we can make it a condition of sale that it’s not to be talked about’.

Pre-Covid, Hannah, whose clients’ £2,500 retainer fee is deducted from the 2 per cent ‘success’ fee she receives from the purchase price, says 70 per cent of her buyers were from abroad. But post-Covid, 70 per cent are British, most in their 40s and entrepreneurs or working in finance, law, or technology, and looking for bigger family homes.

‘To get a really cracking family house with off-street parking, you’re looking at the £15 million to £20 million mark,’ she says. ‘Most of these houses have a separate flat for a housekeeper or nanny.’

Hannah says she sometimes sees herself as ‘marriage counsellor’ with buying couples — ‘you’ve got slightly different briefs you have to merge together’.

If a buyer is ‘focused’, she hopes to find them a home within four months. Is she ever intimidated by their wealth?

‘Definitely not. You can’t advise your client if you’re intimidated.’

In any case, she says: ‘Ninety-nine per cent of our clients are wonderful and happy to have us on board during what is a stressful part of their lives.’

Source link

Real Estate

British ex-pat, 67, is forced to DESTROY his Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Published

on

A British ex-pat has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer.

But the situation for 67-year-old Gurney Davey, from Suffolk, could get worse because he is facing six months in prison after a mayor illegally gave him planning permission for the house.

‘I was distraught at first, my blood pressure was sky high and then I lost my wife,’ Mr Davey said this week as he was demolishing his home near Tolox, Malaga.

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house he built in 2003. 

It was then that legal firm, Manzanares, informed him he would be getting a licence for an ‘almacen’ (or storeroom), which would allow him to build the house.

‘We thought we had done everything right. We got legal advice and went through a lawyer in order to get permission to build the home,’ Davey explained. 

But he was later told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence of his own.

Mr Davey was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71.

‘Diana fought breast cancer for six years before bowel cancer – I am sure the stress brought it on.’ 

‘But thankfully it is now over,’ he explained. ‘It has been going on for so long now, I’ve finally come to terms with what needs to be done. 

‘Having it demolished was actually a relief,’ he added.

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house.

Despite Friday's demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as 'some sort of relief' having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs still have the space to roam.

‘This land is my home, it is my life and these dogs are all I have left.’

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed.

The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house.

‘I went straight to Tolox town hall with it. They told me I shouldn’t have received it yet,’ he recalled. ‘They said they were going to be sending the notification to me once they had stamped it.’

He had never been told about the court case that followed on from a Guardia Civil denuncia for an ‘illegal build’, but Davey’s two-bed home should never have been built according to the Malaga court.

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

In 2016, and then again in 2017, Davey was ordered to knock down his house, but, in common with a neighbour, he waited for more details.

While his Spanish neighbour, Irene Millan, 29, did eventually hear from the court again, she was given six months to ‘legalise’ her property – an option Davey was never given.

However, his neighbour’s apparent good luck turned into a poisoned chalice.

Having spent €20,000 with the town hall to legalise the dwelling, the court finally refused to accept the new paperwork provided by the council.

Instead, demolition was ordered – which went ahead last week.

To add insult to injury Irene’s 54-year-old father, Manuel Millan, whose name was on the deeds, was also sentenced to six months jail and handed a fine of €6 a day for a year.

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour's house

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it - just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

The couple, originally from Suffolk in the UK, spent £130,000 building their property.

‘It came as a package – a plot with a new home on it.’

Davey admits he and his wife were perhaps naive to follow the advice of their lawyer.

The lawyer, from legal firm Manzanares, told them that planning permission would be applied for as an almacen – or ‘warehouse’.

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

This way it would come under the remit of Tolox town hall, which would give permission and later they could ‘legalise’ the property.

The language of one legal letter suggests this would be a mere formality, but the property never got legalised.

In fact, the Tolox mayor of the time, Juan Vera, has since been jailed and fined for his part in a scheme.

In most cases the mayor used the very same ‘lax’ procedure of applying to build an ‘almacen’ to try to keep the prying eyes of the Junta authorities away.

‘We thought that was the way things worked in Spain,’ said Davey, a retired builder. ‘We went to see a lawyer and got advice. It turns out that was not the smart thing to do.

‘Why would we deliberately try to build illegally? It makes no sense that we would sell up everything in the UK and risk it all.’

Mr Davey had earlier said that he was forced to ask the town hall for permission to knock his own property down.

‘I will do it myself. I will borrow a JCB from someone and flatten my home of the past 17 years. I will not let the town hall do it and charge me more money.’

It is not the first time British expats have had their homes demolished in Andalucia, with the Priors, in Almeria, the most famous victims.

They still live in the garage of their house today, over 10 years since the house was knocked down in Vera. 

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Two teenagers died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford

Published

on

Two teenagers have died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford on Wednesday.

Gardaí in Ballyfermot responded to a call at an equestrian centre at Tay Lane, Co Dublin, at about 2pm.

Dublin Fire Brigade and the National Ambulance Service attended the scene and provided medical assistance to a 15-year-old girl who was injured during an exercise event.

She was removed to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, where she later died.

Gardaí said the coroner has been notified. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has also been notified and will carry out an examination on Thursday.

Gardaí said investigations are ongoing. A file will be prepared for the Coroner’s Court.

Separately, gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of a workplace accident in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Wednesday afternoon.

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The HSA has been notified and will carry out an investigation. A file will be prepared for the coroner.

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Tritax EuroBox acquires Swedish logistics property for €47m

Published

on

Tritax EuroBox continues to expand its presence in the Swedish market with a €47m acquisition. The asset held freehold has a total gross internal area of approximately 28,900m² and comprises two purpose-built logistics facilities (one of 16,200m² and the other 12,700m²), located in the heart of the prime logistics location in the Port of Gothenburg. 

 

The Port of Gothenburg has been ranked as the most attractive logistics location in the Nordics for 20 years by Intelligent Logistik, the leading Nordic logistics media platform. There are currently no vacant logistics buildings in the port area. The Port is home to Scandinavia’s largest container terminal, which is forecast to grow over the coming years. The buildings are fully let to Agility AB, Nordicon AB and Vink Essaplast Group AB, generating a total annual rent of €1.79m on leases with a weighted average unexpired lease term of six years.  The rent reflects a rate of €62.50psm per annum.  All leases are annually indexed to 100% of Swedish CPI.

 

Nick Preston, Fund Manager of Tritax EuroBox, commented: “We are delighted to acquire our first asset in the Nordics which aligns with our disciplined investment approach and our long term strategic goals. The asset held freehold is located in the region’s strongest logistics market and offers asset management upside through working closely with the occupiers to achieve their business plans and increase rents to market levels. We expect to see continued strong market rental growth in the Port of Gothenburg, due to the natural constraint of land supply in the port area, and the increasing demand from occupiers. The Port of Gothenburg has a clear plan for growth, with significant infrastructure investment committed, further strengthening this location.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!