An interview with Marc von Grundherr, Director at Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings
How did you get into property?
I began my career working for an investment bank and one of my clients managed a large property portfolio. I was already interested in property and loved the idea of working in the business. I felt I could do a really good job so when an opportunity to work in property came up I grabbed it.
Why is it such a great hobby for you?
My family have always invested in property and encouraged me to buy my first rental investment when I was 23. It was a studio in Earl’s Court and cost £50k. I did it up and sold it immediately for £97k. I got the bug and what started out as a hobby soon became my life!
What was the first place you bought and where was this?
I bought my first home in Chelsea – a shabby two bed flat on the third floor of a building above a newsagent – not exactly a ‘des res’. But I gutted it, did it up and lived there for a couple of years before selling it and making a 70% profit.
As a letting agent now with 16 branches in London, what are professional renters mostly looking for in a home?
Today’s tenants expect luxury amenities and convenience, particularly if they are corporates who generally have the highest budgets. Nine Elms Point ticks all the boxes as it has a fitness centre, 24 hour concierge service and business facilities and these benefits help residents achieve their desired work/life balance. Most of the apartments have a balcony or terrace which we know is a big draw for tenants. A Sainsbury's supermarket situated next door is also a handy addition. The quality of homes and all these benefits in Zone 1 make this a fantastic rental hot-spot.
Considering Nine Elms Point enjoys a Zone 1 location, the rental yields being achieved here are very strong at 4% compared to current yields in other parts of Zone 1 which are averaging 2% depending on the exact location. With competitive sales prices being offered at Nine Elms Point and the overall tenant demand that we are already seeing, we believe 4% is great for London generally but especially good for a Zone 1 location.
With all the economic uncertainty at the moment, you’ve opened up a branch here at Nine Elms Point. Is London and indeed Nine Elms Point still a good investment?
London sits at the heart of a country with the fifth largest economy in the world. We have a highly regarded healthcare system and offer a world-class education; in fact, 55 current world leaders were educated in the UK!
There is still a huge shortage of housing supply due to an ever-increasing London workforce. A number of companies are moving their staff to London including tech firms Apple, Facebook and Amazon, so the answer is a resounding yes, it is definitely still a good place to invest. Investors should see buying London property as a medium to long-term investment. The market is historically resilient and we see rents continuing to rise. Property has outperformed all asset classes with the exception of Gold over the past 30 years.
So where do you see Nine Elms in 10 years time?
Nine Elms is all about taking regeneration a step further into the realms of “Placemaking” which is the formation of whole new communities and lifestyle options in the Capital. The ambitious size and scope of this £15 billion project means that buying into its early stages should rank high on the list of any serious property investor.
The Nine Elms Point property development will be the site of the first station on the new Northern line extension and residents will therefore have direct access to this revolutionary service. Apart from scoring highly in terms of convenience, Nine Elms Point is also the home of our new lettings branch and our team are on the spot to provide expert help and advice to landlords as well as the day to day management of their properties.