Three trends for the year ahead.
1. Tidy your space, transform your life
Marie Kondo is a one-woman industry whose mission is to spark joy in the world through tidying. Her lifestyle brand Kon-Marie is one of the fastest growing companies around, and her Netflix show ‘Tidying Up’ is a smash. Marie believes that the real antidote to unhappiness is not pleasure, but order. My wife and I followed her guidance over Christmas and not only did it spark joy (Marie’s stated intent) – but we gave a house full of unused goods to charity. We are now taking the same approach at work and in the way we approach our client’s properties.
We’ve blogged in the past about Feng-Shui, the Asian approach to interior design, and also Vastu Shastra - The Hindu based ‘Science of Architecture’, and we are learning more and more from our Indian and Chinese clients as we go. Kerpine ones home clean and well organized is as popular as ever. Our clients want good clean lines and impeccable organization from the get-go. They are not necessarily into minimalism, rather they like essentialism. And just like Marie, that means they want to discard anything that doesn’t give them joy.
2. Micro flats
On the subject of using space creatively, we are seeing many instructions and searches on behalf of developers who are building micro flats into destination buildings. Much like Soho House have done at BBC Television Centre, but with greater efficiency in the use of square footage, we know of at least five projects of this kind in various stages of the search, planning or development process… kind of like grown-up halls of residence, attached to premium eating and wellbeing businesses, as opposed to a student union. Everywhere we look we see a focus on creative uses of space in parallel to quality user experiences.
The idea of having a place to crash suits out-of-towners who just need a day or two a week in the city, as well as micro-landlords who may wish to build up a range of small properties, taking on less debt as they do so. Not to mention millennials, who simply want to get on the ladder at a level they can hope to mortgage, and are happy to forego space as a luxury. We have always seen meta-trends of this kind as being drivers of large industrial patterns in the property sector, and with a raft of new properties set to hit the market at this level in 2019, it looks like the micro flat concept will be less of a fad and more of a new property class in its own right.
3. Civil war looks less likely
Whichever way you look at it, the UK has been polarized for a number of years at the level of society and politics, and this has made investors and consumers of all kinds nervous. What we are seeing in the very early stages of this spring is that people are less hesitant than they were last year, and looking more likely to consider buying at some point soon. Our pipeline is currently full and our viewings schedule booked out. There are not many deals being done, but offers are being made and there is more movement this quarter than in any of 2018’s main periods of business.
The closer we get to clarity on Brexit, the better. And like many others, I am now feeling unattached to the outcome. We need clarity – on either remaining or leaving. So that we can all get on with our lives. And as soon as we know, the market stasis will shift. I believe London’s long-envied position at the very top of the global security scale (in terms of ROI), will remain unchanged. People feel safe here, and they feel safe buying property here. It would take the political calamity of the last century to reverse that… which simply can’t happen, can it?!