Prime property trends in London that extend to Europe

The London prime property market is a constantly changing picture that requires nuance. Alex Bourne, Co-founder of prime real estate company, London House, which features in the new Netflix 'Buying London' series, explains more

Feature image
Alex Bourne, Co-founder of London House © Zoe McConnell/Netflix

London has seen a shift in its prime property needs since the political and social changes associated with Brexit and the pandemic. London is a global city and, like many in Europe, saw an initial exodus in 2020. However, its cultural capital status is unmatched, with many domestic buyers wanting the ‘perfect village’ feel within prime central post codes, so knowing the city’s hidden gems in which to sell the perfect lifestyle is a must for prime property experts.

Post-pandemic return?
One hot topic in London’s prime property market is around how many of those who left during the pandemic will return. Monitoring market discussions Europe-wide can help forecast current vendor and buyer needs. For example, in the last year (January-April 2024) we have seen a 38 percent increase in enquiries from domestic buyers, compared to the previous year. This indicates that there is a shift from global, more transient investors towards a more domestic, UK based HNWI client base, and we can review a property’s unique selling points in light of this.

People buy into emotion, not square footage
At the prime real estate end of the property market, decisions are based on emotion. Understanding a buyer’s personal vision and connecting them with their dream space, lifestyle and neighbourhood often becomes the deciding factor. For example, the best schools, fine dining restaurants and beautiful parks are all driving factors. In addition, knowing that moving home is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life – often due to a huge emotional life change – means our approach has always been to meet that emotion with empathy. Building long lasting client relationships becomes the goal, and buying and selling properties becomes an outcome of that.

Technology and social media can support a very personalised approach that can facilitate introductions to the perfect buyer

Let the buildings do the talking
With the industry on the turn, and ‘propfluencers’ making headlines for a new US-inspired approach to selling houses, London House is proud to retain its traditional, understated, and refined approach that focuses on listening, and letting the homes it sells do the talking – something that could be echoed in Europe.

The real estate industry is no doubt becoming more reliant on the individuals within it, however, we know that our clients value discretion. Our clients are looking to buy and sell unique ‘collectables’ – from homes for art lovers, to wine lovers or those who love to own something with historical relevance, such as a Grade I listed penthouse apartment St Pancras Chambers, valued at £9.5m. It is only by telling these stories that you can capture the imagination of a potential buyer.

Embrace social networking
The portal model (where potential buyers send enquiries to estate agents through third-party listings platforms), is rapidly becoming redundant in favour of a low-volume, targeted and bespoke approach. Showcasing a prime property on social media can be a great way of attracting interest.

We are so passionate about the industry and our city

People can immerse themselves in their dream lifestyle through Instagram and TikTok over time, and in turn our team can seek out the perfect buyer in a visual and discreet way. We once sold a property in 24 hours through a video call with an overseas buyer. When used correctly, technology and social media can support a very personalised approach that can facilitate introductions to the perfect buyer.

Be creative with recruitment
We are a people-focused business and our workforce reflects this. We have agents from all walks of life. I’m a screenwriter and my co-founder is a former actor. We also have a former dental nurse and a current singer in our team!  Property is an art and a science and we want to work with those who have the skillset to be people focused and who enjoy telling stories to capture the visions of our clients.

We also recognise the role of wisdom and experience at this end of the market and are keen to celebrate this with our latest hires. We are so passionate about the industry and our city and know that our ability to build relationships and find the perfect property by cross-selling across London’s prime property postcodes remains unmatched. Staff who know your city inside and out with a little black book of contacts will be key in maintaining market resilience.

Discover more about London’s discreet prime real estate experts here: