The international estate agency Engel & Volkers is closing its single prime central London office - despite past claims that sales in the capital were improving as a result of the pound’s collapse encouraging foreign buyers.
Engels & Volkers has had a chequered history in the UK. In 2006 it opened a London office in a blaze of publicity, telling a reception of journalists at the time that it aimed to have a nationwide network which would rival Knight Frank for size, transactions and influence.
That office shut in 2008, when the credit crunch hit. Now its latest office, at Sloane Avenue in Chelsea, has closed too: although its website gives no indication the office has shut, callers by telephone are told they have “dialled an incorrect number” and emails bounce back as "undeliverable".
The firm’s departure coincides with another bleak housing market forecast for London, where E&V concentrated its efforts.
The latest Reuters poll of housing experts, a majority believe that the house prices in both the UK and London are likely to take a hit if there is a No Deal crash exit of the EU in just over two months’ time.
Reuters, which conducts the poll several times each year, says: “Roughly 85 per cent of respondents said both UK and London house prices would fall in the six months if the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal, with average prices slipping about three per cent nationally and as much as 10 per cent in London.
“But if Britain departs the EU with a transition deal … house prices are due a mild 1.5 per cent lift over the following two quarters. They would rise 1.4 per cent in the capital.”
The survey was conducted between August 13 and 20 and shows a lacklustre performance by the market, with similarly uninspiring predicts for the future.
It says average UK house prices are forecast to rise 1.0 per cent this year, 1.8 per cent next and 2.7 per cent in 2021 - this is anticipated to barely keep up with inflation.