Commenting on Ministry of Justice and Council of Mortgage Lenders data, said: “Data released recently by both the Ministry of Justice and the Council for Mortgage Lenders makes for relatively encouraging reading. Not only are the number of properties taken into possession continuing to fall but the level of mortgage arrears is also dropping. In addition, the earliest signal that a lender is embarking on the repossession process was little different from the relatively low number recorded in the second quarter.
“We now expect mortgage repossessions to total no more than 37,000 for the whole of this year which compares with 46,000 during 2009. Low interest rates continue to play a key role in preventing the number of repossessions climbing towards levels seen in the early 1990s. Prompt government action, the effectiveness of mortgage protocol from lenders and a smaller rise in the jobless total have also all played a role.
“Looking forward to 2011, interest rates are likely to remain at current lows for much of the year which will be helpful for homeowners. However, unemployment could begin to edge upwards as the cuts in public spending are implemented. In the light of this, the decision of the government to stick with the existing eligibility criteria for mortgage interest support is good news and should help minimise the prospect of a further material rise in the number of mortgage repossessions.”
New 6 Star Knightsbridge Suite Hotel announced
Located on one of London’s most prestigious addresses in Knightsbridge is the site for a new 36-suite luxury townhouse hotel scheduled to open in November 2012, aiming to be the first 6 Star hotel for the Capital.
The Wellesley, to be located at 11 Knightsbridge, managed by Arab Investments’ City and Country Hotels and is being developed by Rhimesong at a cost of £36 million refurbishment costs. The property was formerly commercial offices in Arab Investments property portfolio.
The hotel will take on both a contemporary and classic style with interiors managed by the award winning Fox Linton utilising a combination of the buildings 1920’s art deco history and glamour and the striking wide colonnades from which The Cigar Terraces, The Crystal Bar and The Oval restaurant will be centered around. The private heated cigar terraces will feature the UK’s largest bespoke humidor, whilst The Crystal Bar will house the whisky and cognac wall. The bijou and private Oval Restaurant will serve high-quality Italian cuisine with approximately 28 covers next to a dedicated jazz bar aimed at showcasing established and up and coming jazz acts in a private atmosphere – a relief for local Knightsbridge residents who enjoyed the jazz at the original location and have spoken out about their preference to have a glamorous jazz location and bar re-established.
The hotel bedrooms are to be situated over six floors, with the sixth floor providing London’s most acclaimed suite thanks to the uninterrupted views over Hyde Park, a private lift and comprising a 4-bedroom suite. This will make it the largest capacity suite in London with all the technological advancements to make it secure for discerning business travellers and high profile individuals who require several rooms.
“We are delighted to be creating one of the most high quality suite hotels in London. The location of the hotel and size determined that the product will not only be elegant and private but the service and restaurant and bar offerings will be second to none. We are very much looking forward to the opening of The Wellesley in November 2012,” explained Khalid Affara, Managing Director of Arab Investments
October property sales market comment
Ivor Dickinson, Managing Director of Douglas & Gordon says: “The Christmas lull has come early for the London sales market with October seeing the lowest number of new valuations this year. Vendors have been encouraged by reports that prices in London will increase over the next couple of years, so are waiting for the market to pick up.”
“For those properties already on the market, buyers have been bidding at asking prices, but again, vendors are pulling out of the sale at the last minute thinking they’ll get a better price next year. Less than 40% of the offers received in October were actually agreed.”
“We’re advising vendors to market their property now to get two bites at the market, one now when there is little competition from other properties and if necessary, again in the New Year when there will be more buyers but also more competition..”
Lettings Market Comment
Continues Dickinson: “Those who can’t afford to buy a property in London continue to be forced into rented accommodation, but supply is still at worryingly low levels with four people fighting for every one property available. Tenants have to be the first through the door and willing to pay the price for it if they don’t want to lose out.”
“Disheartened vendors who’ve failed to sell at the right price continue to be one of the biggest sources of rental stock in London. And we are seeing more buy-to-let investors entering the market who are encouraged by increasing rents. A significant majority of existing tenancies renewed at an average increase in rent of 6.4% in October, compared to 5% last month.”
For more information, go online at www.douglasandgordon.com