The property market in London is arguably one of the most recognised in the world: even though a global recession, political instability, and uncertainty around the recent Brexit vote, London remains a desirable location; but how homeowners and investors are looking at real estate has changed. Especially in central London, no one has to buy or rent, due to which purchases are emotional rather than rational. For buyers, it is all about the experience a property can give them. Further, the aspect of wellbeing plays a vital role in choosing where to purchase.
Alan Waxman, founder and chief executive of Landmass explains: “When I first started in the property market, buyers and investors would assess the benefits of a property based on the number of rooms available; the more the merrier – regardless of size. Buyers would be inclined to buy a four-bed over a three-bedroom home because psychologically it provided more ‘space’. When buyers then realised that some four-bedroom homes seemed smaller than some of the offered three-bedrooms, they started asking for the room sizes. Buyers then ‘wised-up’ that the number of rooms didn’t equate to more space, so the metrics moved from counting the number of rooms to measuring the square footage.
This has continued and is still very much the metric used today, but a new factor is transforming the sales market and dominating whether your property sells or stays dormant on the market – the experience it provides its new homeowner. Experience in this regard describes the atmosphere of the space, how does it impact you when first entering the space and what effect has it on your wellbeing. As natural light reflects a person’s wellbeing, the more light-filled a property is, the more positive the experience a potential buyer will get out of the property.
We’ve all been to a home where each room has its own ‘identity’; while this may suit the current occupiers, when selling a home, the individuality of a specific taste can be quite challenging. I’m not advocating that we remove personality from homes, but when designing spaces, especially in preparation for sales, the look of a property should be designed to please a larger group of potential buyers. The first step towards this is the right usage of space and the aim to create the illusion of a more spacious property. At Landmass, for example, we use our approach of‘Volumetric Design’, focusing on the layout and the impact of natural light. Ina later stage-specific pieces of art and furniture that capture the essence the property can be used to create an overall identity.
With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest, “experience” has become more important than ever as every private individual wants to create the perfect home. There are more interior designers than ever before, and it is no longer the preserve of the rich but all strata of society. Real expertise does not come from choosing wallpapers and finishes, but from the conceptual space planning of a property. As people spend more and more time at home, due to flexible working hours and home offices, the experience a home provides becomes also more and more important to potential buyers. Also, with the punitive stamp duty, people are more likely to stay in a property for longer which means they are investing more to make sure every room is maximised for both use and experience.
We are currently advising a number of clients on this matter, from private homeowners to developers, for both the sales and rental market, since the lifestyle and emotional attachment a property provides is more important than ever.