31 Jan Return of corporate lets injects boost into sluggish Surrey property market
After an achingly slow year in 2009, corporate lettings have finally returned and with great momentum injecting a welcomed boost to the sluggish property market in Surrey. Sitting on the south-west border of London, the home county of Surrey is known for its green open spaces, affluent villages such as Virginia Water and celebrity residents let alone the direct road and rail links to the Capital, superb schools, having two international airports on its doorstep and being only one hour from the South Coast.
Not only one of the most sought after destinations in which to live by Brits, Surrey is once again becoming a desirable property enclave for expats relocating to the UK for business reasons.
As James Wyatt, Partner of multi award-winning Virginia Water based estate agency, Barton Wyatt, explains:
“With the majority of international companies still having headquarters in and around the Capital, locations such as Virginia Water, Cobham, Esher and Weybridge in Surrey have become very popular alternatives to living in the city centre. Relocation agents vie for a slice of the Surrey action as many of their expats clients have families and the large homes, wide open spaces, wide range of facilities and top class schools such as The American Community School and Tasis as well as Eton, Harrow and Wellington nearby meet their needs perfectly.”
During the boom years, Surrey was awash with business expats and their families driving a very prosperous high end rental market but in line with the economic crash back in 2009, many international companies withdrew many of their expat workers leaving some homes without tenants. The last few months have seen a turnaround however with James Wyatt and his team seeing increasing numbers of expat business workers returning to the area, relocation agents searching for rental properties and more homes being let specifically to this market.
James Wyatt comments:
“We really are back to 2008 when the market was saturated with tenants and a limited choice of properties to choose from. We are seeing some clients buying more property now, as they see bricks and mortar as a safer bet than other investments. Returns are somewhere between 5 and 6% which is an attractive proposition. Rents are rising too having risen about 5% during 2011, mainly due to the lack of supply, and we expect a busy summer this year as corporations head to the safe haven of the UK.”
Having operated in this market for many years, the lettings team at Barton Wyatt are highly trained to assist expats on what could be quite a daunting and stressful journey. Striving to make this as easy as possible for their clients, getting the location right, advising on the right school and making sure they are in a place where they will ‘fit in and feel at home quickly’ is paramount.
Jo Paris, Lettings Manager at Barton Wyatt talks of the challenges facing an expat and how her team help make the journey as painless as possible.
“When an expat family is due to fulfil a stint in the UK, the first we hear about it is often via a relocation agent. We have very strong links with dozens of relocation agents – it is important to them and their clients that we understand their needs and can deliver a selection of suitable houses quickly and efficiently.
“Knowing the nationality is the most important thing for us, different nationalities have different needs and desires. For instance an American is likely to want a house with spacious rooms, a utility with American sized appliances and a huge double fridge – this will not be important to a Japanese family – they will be looking for a house within a gated community and it is important to them that there are other Japanese families in their street.”
As experts in their field, Barton Wyatt is exhibiting at the 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition held at the Russell Hotel in London on February 6th. This one day event is in its 15th year and is a must for expatriates of all nationalities, International HR professionals and those advising the expatriate community. There are over 40 exhibitors with products and services that support the expatriate community, and there are also free seminars that you can attend.
For more information on the conference visit http://www.