Finding a Home for your Art

An Insight into the World of Luxury Property from Sotheby's International Realty's George Hall
September 27, 2015 Updated: September 27, 2015

LONDON—With features including a main house, guest cottages, bar, and restaurant, Johnny Depp’s 37-acre estate in the South of France is actually a small village or “hameau.”

The property has been on the market since June 2015 with an asking price of around €23 million (£16.5 million) and is listed by Sotheby’s International Realty.

Sotheby’s is a brand more widely known for its auction house. Yet since the Sotheby realty company’s inception in 1974, the brand has attracted collectors looking for a suitable property to display their art as well as those in search of a luxury lifestyle.

Sotheby’s diversified into the real estate market after receiving a large number of property inquiries from their existing customers in the auction house. The luxury realty company has been operating in London since 2004.

“The auction house has a very high proportion of the world’s billionaires, so when they buy art they buy in substantial volume or high-value art.” said George Hall, International Director of Sotheby’s International Realty UK.

“Then they get the properties for their art,” he added.

Sotheby’s provides the ultimate luxury package for those who seek opulence. The company has picked up clients via helicopter for house viewings, and also taken potential buyers around London properties via Rolls Royce.

“We attract people who are buying into a lifestyle. They’re buying for emotional reasons—not always investment reasons,” he said.

The average price of a property in prime central London is around £3.5 million. Sotheby’s International Realty’s properties range from student flats that can cost £300,000 located just outside London, to luxury properties of £120 million. Last October the company sold Karen Millen’s flat in Belgravia for £8.5 million.

Many buyers pay a premium for the postcodes. Within a half-hour walk you can go from £1,000 per square foot to £4,000 per square foot, Hall said.

“People often get attached to an area or a postcode—Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair—for the name,” he said.

In addition, social stability in the UK as well as the “safety” of property investments makes the luxury property market attractive to international investors, and Hall is confident in the future of the UK property market.

“The market doesn’t have to be cheap for people to want to invest here.”

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