Last year will surely go down as one of the more memorable in the 233 years that JLL has been in business, with seismic changes underlining the need for the company’s sound property advice as leading residential experts with experience in all market conditions.
The year presented a number of challenges to London’s residential property market. In April an effective three per cent stamp duty surcharge was introduced on additional homes, prompting a mini stampede from investors looking to beat the tax hike.
No sooner had Londoners elected a new Mayor in May 2016 then it was time to hit the ballot box again to determine Britain’s future in (or out of) the EU. The pound tumbled both in the lead up to and immediate aftermath of the surprise Leave result at the end of June, while PM David Cameron stepped down and the Bank of England cut the base rate of interest to its lowest ever level to bolster the property market.
Despite all the upheavals, demand for London property remained steady, though price rises slowed and buyers felt the scales begin to tip back in their favour. Purchasers became increasingly discerning, while vendors relied on experienced agents for sound advice and to obtain a realistic assessment of the best achievable price.
JLL’s residential agency business also went from strength to strength, helping clients achieve positive outcomes in a market that presented many tests, yet still offered numerous rewards and opportunities for committed buyers, sellers and landlords alike.
In many respects, this long-established property business has seen it all before. The company can trace its origins to 1783, when Richard Winstanley set up shop as an auctioneer in a rapidly industrialising London. Through numerous mergers and acquisitions the company steadily grew and, by the outbreak of the Second World War, the firm was known as Jones Lang Wootton (JLW) & Sons. Following the Blitz, the company was involved in documenting boundaries and establishing ownership of land and securing licenses for development as London was rebuilt. In the 1950s, it began its global expansion, opening in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, as well as extending domestically and in Europe. In 1968, the company that would become known as LaSalle Partners was founded and, in 1975, JLW opened its first US office in New York. Through the 1970s and 1980s, JLW and LaSalle Partners extended their presence in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas and, in 1999, the largest international real estate industry merger saw the two join forces to form Jones Lang LaSalle.
In 2011, Jones Lang LaSalle merged with King Sturge, giving the firm a depth of expertise and strengthening its London presence, particularly in new homes and professional residential markets. Three years later, the now rebranded JLL merged with W.A.Ellis, another long-established lettings and estate agency.
Having joined forces, these two British institutions have an extended global reach, offering unrivalled estate agency services and property investment advice to clients in the UK and across the world. Organic growth remains a key part of JLL’s strategy, with a new branch in Cale Street, Chelsea, opening early in 2017, to better serve demand for homes in the ever-popular SW3 postcodes.
After such a tumultuous year calmer waters are forecast, with JLL experts predicting a readjustment of the residential market in 2017, prices are forecast to rise by around one per cent in greater London as a whole and to stand still in most prime central areas, before a return to modest growth of between one and three per cent from 2018.
Lucy Morton, Head of Residential Agency at JLL, comments: ‘Following a rollercoaster year, our expansion plans continue as we see increasing demand for our trusted advice. JLL and W.A.Ellis’ roots are both embedded in London, so it made perfect sense to merge and grow our brands together.’ And with expertise in sales, lettings and a bespoke service, JLL remains the most reliable company to get the best advice for anyone looking to navigate the London property market.
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