Three years ago there were more Russians that you could ‘shake a stick at’ hoovering up a plethora of prime properties in London, with gay abandon. We not only thought ‘the Russians are coming’, it was an avalanche.
Originally, after the Cold War collapsed in the 90s, the first Russian families started to set up homes in Highgate, since this was near to the Russian Trade Delegation Compound, in Highgate West Hill, and strangely enough, close to Highgate Cemetery where ironically, Karl Marx is buried. It was interesting to note that when former Soviet spy, Alexander Litvinenko, died (he was allegedly murdered by drinking tea laced with Polonium 210, whilst being entertained by the Russian agent called Lugovi at the Millennium Hotel in 2006), his lead lined coffin was buried in the same cemetery.
Here is another fabulous vignette of a somewhat alternative negotiating technique and probably the finest I have seen in my lifetime. Let me set the scene for you.
My vendor client, Mr. Instone Bloomfield, was a wealthy banker with a swanky office in Berkeley Square and had instructed Glentree to sell his expensive, trophy mansion, in St John’s Wood, namely Mermaid House, for a price which in today’s money would be £75million.
Halleluiah, there has been more activity in the last eight weeks in the London Property Market, than in the past two years.
After all the negative effects of the Stamp Duty hikes, Non Dom changes etc., the middle to upper sectors of the London property markets have been in a parlous state. Values have been dropping by 25%, or more, and the time taken to sell properties in excess of £5million, has increased from say six months to 18 months. Frankly, in 40 years of trading I have not witnessed such an extended malaise, without any end in sight.