• Have D&G gone too far this time?

    Friday, October 01, 2010

    Have D&G gone too far this time?

    Douglas & Gordon have for the past three years given over their Harrington Road office in South Kensington to up and coming artists because of its prominent location. The two most recent installations have been a beautiful interpretation of the famous blue plaques in the surrounding area by Shaz Madani and most recently, a series of dinosaur themed windows by Jake Blanchard.

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  • Shuffling blindfolded towards the edge

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Shuffling blindfolded towards the edge

    I reckon the Estate Agency world might just be staring over the edge of a precipice. It’s got nothing to do with competition from the internet or private sellers, or anywhere else for that matter, but has everything to do with the long term trend downwards in sales volumes. Without wishing to be selfish it would easy to argue that my firm would suffer less than most as is evidenced whenever volumes fall and our market share goes up, but looking at the larger picture, and using anecdotal evidence from what’s going on around me at the moment there’s no doubt at all that many agents are fighting for their lives.
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  • What makes Kensington and Chelsea special

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    What makes Kensington and Chelsea special

    RBKC, only four letters but given they denote an area that contains some of the most expensive real estate on the planet it’s not surprising that people aspire to live here, and that the property market here polarises opinion. Firstly some facts; if you use May 1995 as a base of 100, as of May 2010 nationally the index had gone to 265, but in RBKC it’s gone to 458. So over the same period property in this sought after location has increased 216% more than the national average. The average property price is c. £870k. (Land Registry)
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  • July and August Market Report

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    July and August Market Report

    Residential Sales At Douglas & Gordon we are not seeing the deluge of new property coming to the residential sales market in Central London that is being reported in northern England, (9 August 2010). Neither are we seeing any evidence of falling prices. July 2010 saw Douglas & Gordon take on almost exactly the same number of new properties as in July 2009. However, the level of stock available is continuing to grow, an increase of 15% more than the figures in June and, rather more worryingly, 68% more than this time last year. The reason for this continuing rise in stock, despite only average levels of new instructions coming on to the sales market is the slow down of actual sales.
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  • Extra-ordinary agents

    Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Extra-ordinary agents

    One of my god-children has just completed two weeks work experience at Douglas & Gordon. When reporting back to his father to relate his experience, he said that it wasn’t a career for him. Fair enough! But the reason he gave was that being an estate agent seemed a very unfulfilling and boring profession. “All they do is show people houses, and when they do they don’t seem to do much selling.” I realise that recounting this tale does not show Douglas & Gordon in a very good light, but it is the perception of the general public and of many people who do choose to enter this profession. It couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. To be a truly outstanding estate agent requires a great many skills (very few people have them), and the easiest part of the process is showing someone around a house.

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  • Nappy to Happy Valley

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Nappy to Happy Valley

    OK, the Northcote Road is Nappy Valley and to be honest, ideally suited to the role. With plenty of shops and cafés that cater to the push chairs and the beautiful young mothers attached to them. If you are free and single or a young couple, don’t turn up your nose at the area. Fair enough, the prams rule during the day but this very safe area changes in the evening. When the Bugaboo’s are folded away and the children are being read bedtime stories, this little patch of London becomes a fantastic night spot. A few beers in All Bar One or The Bolingbroke followed by an Indian, Italian, Thai, or more traditional burger. Then on to “mingling” in the Clapham Grand into the small hours. Yes, the Northcote Road can provide.
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  • Sunlit uplands...pass me a bucket of cold water.

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Sunlit uplands...pass me a bucket of cold water.

    I went to a lunch yesterday given by a publisher. It’s an annual event and I usually give all such events a miss. Shy and retiring as I am I was persuaded by a colleague and it was actually good to see a few old faces I see all too often. The old timers are thinning out, one lovely guy has just bowed out with MS, it’s the sort of business here in central London that you only leave when forced through illness. Many have tried to leave but came back. But I digress.
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  • Estate agents ARE the canaries of the wider Economy, so what do they think.

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Estate agents ARE the canaries of the wider Economy, so what do they think.

    Whilst standing in a bank queue this morning I overheard a guy at the back saying “…and the dreaded gazumping is back”. That’s not the way it feels to me at the moment and it’s a perhaps timely reminder that estate agents are the canaries of the wider economy.
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  • Market Report – The Matchbox Property Guide 2010

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Market Report – The Matchbox Property Guide 2010

    So, what does 2010 hold for the London property owner?  After a slow start February and March saw significant activity in the sales market and prices continuing to rise at the same rate as they did in 2009.  However, as we came in to June it was a very different story.  It is as if the entire United Kingdom was like a punch drunk boxer, reeling from blow after blow as it discovers the full extent of Blair and Brown’s profligacy over the last twelve years.  I seriously believe that the British people are increasingly nervous about the future and the slow decrease in activity in every sector of the property market is largely caused by fear.  Never a good emotion when confronting big decisions about whether to rent or to buy, how much to spend or when shall I make my move?  The lack of property available to let will mean rental prices increasing month on month and demand for property in central London will mean sales prices holding up, but not necessarily increasing significantly.
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