2nd October 2023 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

THE FALL – Autumn 2023 market comment

THE FALL – Autumn 2023 market comment   Picking up the racing theme from our early Summer update, the dash into Autumn/Fall is a time to assess the runners and riders. Who is odds-on to stay in the saddle? And who may find themselves thrown off-course? The hurdles to be navigated are many and ominous. A cost-of-living crisis, with inflation remaining stubbornly high. Interest rates (still potentially rising) that remain the single biggest influence on the property market. Then there is the non-stop political drama, with an election looming ever closer. From a property standpoint, the impact will be Darwinian in its separation of weak from strong. The former tend to be those entirely reliant on high loan-to-value mortgages and who manage household budgets from month to month while having little or no savings to fall back on. The latter tend to be cash-rich and very often use debt as an efficient tool. In the middle are those whose mortgage borrowing absorbs a meaningful slice of their income, often on top of large school fees, but who can draw on reserves and investments to see themselves through turbulent periods. As we enter Q3 2023 we are clearly seeing the broader […]

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14th June 2023 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0


THE FLAT SEASON   A week or so back we had the Epsom Derby, generally seen as the pinnacle of the flat racing season. The week before we had Chelsea Flower Show. These come right in the middle of ‘the season’ which kicks off with the Cheltenham Festival (horse racing over jumps) in March and ends with the Goodwood revival in September (car racing in vintage clothes) with Henley, Ascot, Wimbledon, Lords etc in between. The property market traditionally has its own season, the spring market. The 2023 spring market however feels very much like a ‘flat’ season with a different emphasis on the word flat. In fact, to continue the racing analogy, the property market came out of the starting stalls at the beginning of the year at a gallop, only to hit soft going by early April. Read more There are perhaps many and varied reasons for the changing fortunes over the first half of this year. Despite all that the world faced, and there was much to be despondent about, the prime London property market seemed in rude health as the post Covid world took off. However, this new optimism appeared to stumble as it faced various […]

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27th January 2023 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR       KUNG HEI FAT CHOI / GONG XI FA CAI   WILL THE RABBIT BOUNCE? Being predominantly a buy side advisor we are quite excited about 2023. This is very much a timing issue with a focus on late 2024 onwards. Our expectations for the year do not discount the many serious challenges being faced but, barring significant shocks, we are expecting continued weakness in sterling, a shallow recession, followed by a cyclical recovery which will actually be boosted by a change of Government next year. It is a measure of the mess our politicians have made in recent years that a Labour government is being cautiously anticipated across the political divide. Recently we have had an ex-Tory minister from Thersea May’s time (remember her?) laud Keir Starmer and Tory grandee Ken Clark saying the Tories need a period of opposition to reset. The Tories in their tired desperation, and lack of vision, have stolen many of Labour’s clothes in recent years and Labour in turn have moderated many of their views from taxation through to the culture wars. The consequence being that whichever party is in power, there is very limited wiggle room on […]

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6th December 2022 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Newsletter December 2022

NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2022 No.1 St James’s Street by Obespoke This month we would like to share with you all the story behind our latest completed project – an iconic building on the corner of St James’s Street and Pall Mall, that we have spent the last two years designing and redeveloping for Berry Brothers & Rudd.   A stunning transformation How the past was brought to the present London has many historic buildings but not so many have owners with such historic connections to their specific location as No.1 St James’s Street, nor sited opposite a palace built 500 years ago(1531-1536). So why did Berry Brothers & Rudd, founded two doors along in 1698, turn to Obbard to create the apartments at No. 1 St James’s? In contrast to Berry Bros. 300 year history, Obbard have just 30 years. However, in that 30 year period, the company has established itself by offering a distinctly different approach to value creation and proactive asset management of prime residential market, as our founder Hugh Obbard explains: “I have always felt that the beauty of residential property as an investment class is how value can be added through upgrades and improvements which appeal to […]

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4th November 2022 by Jonny Dyson Property Insight 0

Newsletter November 2022

NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2022 End of an era for cheap borrowing For most of the past decade the UK base rate has not exceeded 0.5%. As we write, the base rate has just gone from 2.25% to 3%, the biggest hike since 1989. The era of cheap money is over. However, unlike the domestic housing market, the prime London sector is less built upon a basic need for debt, and loan to value ratios tend to be low on average, and with cash purchases commonplace. There is a distinct difference between wealth and liquidity, so understanding how interest rates influence the different sectors of the market is key, and the ability to cut through the hysteria or bias in the press more important than ever. Cheap and easy money has inevitably encouraged speculation from those who had access to such funds, but the higher transaction costs introduced since the earlier/mid part of the last decade has kept this to relatively low levels and there is far less ‘heat’ in the prime London market to what we saw back in 2007/2008 or 1990/1991. So, with interest rates very much at the forefront of our minds at the moment, we spoke to our […]

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