Developer of Estate Opposite Buckingham Palace Sees Queries Jump

The developer of luxury apartments opposite Buckingham Palace is hoping it can defy predictions of a slump in upmarket London properties.

Northacre Plc -- which is developing No. 1 Palace St in St. James’ Park and The Broadway in Westminster -- has seen inquiries surge almost threefold in the first half compared with a year earlier, Mustafa Kheriba, a director at the London-based company, said in an interview.

“The global pandemic will only increase demand,” said Kheriba who’s also deputy chief executive officer and head of asset and wealth management at Dubai’s Shuaa Capital PSC. “This coupled with the changing environment for property development, with a shrinking workforce following Britain’s exit from Europe will impact the availability of stock which in turn will limit stock and push up demand.”

Northacre’s optimism comes as broker Savills Plc warns that prices in London’s wealthiest neighborhoods will decline by 2% this year as the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus discourages overseas buyers.

Still, Northacre expects demand to be underpinned by the U.K.’s offer to provide British National Overseas passport holders living in protest-hit Hong Kong with a path to U.K. citizenship. Buyers from Hong Kong and China make up “10% to 15% of the appetite for prime central London,” Kheriba said. The company is also seeing interest from India, Nigeria and Gulf countries.

“Inquiries in general have been much more focused,” Kheriba said. “Buyers have had more time to dedicate to their property purchase. Having spent months within the same four walls they are also much more specific in terms of their needs and requirements.”

Northacre generated 60 million pounds ($76 million) of sales from the developments last year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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