James Robinson, General Manager at London mews specialists Lurot Brand on the argument in defence of the mews.
“Land Registry does not list the achieved price per square foot for mews properties but Lonres, which is our inter agent portal, does. It lists just six mews sales that have ever achieved more than £3000 sqft and one included the Eaton Square house it was attached to. In fact, only 29 houses of any type have ever achieved £3,500 sqft or more. So to say that this was an average for a mews is somewhat wide of the mark.
Asking prices are another thing, but we never base our values on people’s delusional asking prices. What actually sold is what matters.
The difficulty we are experiencing is finding mews owners who actually want to sell as most are second homes or investments. Even if we achieve a record price for our clients, selling a mews house can cause the seller a lot of problems.
Firstly there are the transactional costs to pay and, if it’s not their primary residence, there will also be capital gains tax and with stamp duty so high, it will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy another property of a similar ilk.
Therefore, we have a great deal of clients choosing to hold and/or to rent for the time being; in the same way that if their shares dip a little they don’t sell them. Given that there are very few safer investments than a prime central London mews house where else would you invest your millions?
So, as a buyer, if you can convince a mews owner to part with their blue chip mews, at a softer price than last year, then do it. You won’t earn much over the next year or so but as history has proven that, even through the credit crunch, prime London property doubles every ten years. If you don’t believe me ask anyone how they felt about the house they sold in PCL before 2007.”