03 May 2023 PrimeResi

Property Vision goes global: Top UK buying agency launches international network

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40-year-old firm creates a global buying agency network covering the world's top luxury property enclaves.

After 40 years in business in the UK, buying agency Property Vision has rolled out an international property search-and-acquisition network.

A “hand-picked” selection of top-end property advisors in some of the world’s most rarified real estate markets are now operating under the PV banner, alongside their existing businesses.

In Europe, the first tranche of associates covers the South of France, Greece, Paris, Berlin, Geneva, Milan, Ireland, Scotland, and the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps. There’s also coverage in Antigua, Barbados and Mauritius – and more territories to come.

The USA is notably absent from the list, but American expansion is high in the agenda and we hear talks are in play with potential partners in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

“After years of monitoring their markets, the expert teams know where all the truly special properties are,” declares PV of the new network, which was trailed earlier this year. “They have the contacts to open doors that seem closed; the data to determine fair value; and the skills to help negotiate the best possible deal.”

PV’s international move has been in the works for some time, Senior Partner Philip Harvey told PrimeResi. 98% of the agency’s UK clients come from word-of-mouth referrals, and 49% are repeat business – with a large proportion owning homes in a number of different countries. “Once they have bought with us, they don’t want to buy any other real estate asset without our advice,” he explained, adding: “Saying ‘no’ was becoming increasingly difficult.”

“Money is becoming increasingly mobile and more of the privately wealthy are acquiring international property,” explains the firm of its expansion drive. “Attracted by tax advantages, investment opportunities or – more commonly – the lure of an enviable lifestyle, this move is reflective of a worldwide trend. Research suggests that 125,000 HNWIs will relocate this year, up from just 51,000 a decade ago. As a result, demand in the world’s most popular locations is greater than ever. With the supply of special properties every bit as constrained as in the UK, the consequence is inevitable: prices are rising faster than at any time since the financial crisis. The same is true in resort locations worldwide.“

One of the tricky things for PV to navigate as it builds its global network has been different broker models – with property agents in some countries typically taking fees from both buyer and seller sides. PV provides “buy side advice only”, says Harvey, and all international associates “are formally committed to replicating the Property Vision ethos” – with no conflicts of interest between clients, and no muddying of the waters by providing sell-side counsel.

Each of the Associates run their own established property finding businesses, and will continue to operate existing brands alongside the new PV referral network. Associates are governed by their local legal jurisdictions, so it’s up to individual associates to make sure compliance matters are up to code.

In the UK, Property Vision provides both residential and commercial real estate services. International outposts have a clear resi focus (including lifestyle property, investment opportunities and relocations), but some also handle commercial search briefs.

Beyond search and acquisition, PV’s associates maintain ongoing relationships with clients by offering access to a personalised network of local “trusted intermediaries” from architects and interior designers to property managers, lawyers and tax accountants.

The first PV International signing – the Cote d’Azur and Provence territory – harks back to Property Vision’s past, when the firm was owned by banking giant HSBC. Nigel Hindle ran a PV office for HSBC in Nice until 2012, when a management buyout put the UK buying agency back in the hands of its partners. Hindle took the opportunity to carry on as an independent buying agency, setting up Hindle Baldock with Catherine Gondon. HB was first in line to be approached by Property Vision as it looked to expand internationally.

Established PV UK players Marcus Gondolo-Gordon and Robert Fanshawe are also involved directly in overseas searches, in Greece and Ireland respectively.

Philip Harvey, senior partner at Property Vision: “Many of our clients are looking to expand their global real estate portfolios and our role is to ensure that they receive the best advice from experts on the ground who have a deep understanding of the local market. Buying a property overseas used to be seen as comparatively cheap – relative to an individual’s total wealth – and rarely required leverage. Higher prices mean higher jeopardy, especially since transaction and holding costs can be much greater than in the UK. It is expected on islands like Mustique and St Barts in the Caribbean prices are increasing by 15% a year but headline prices aren’t the only issue. At the top end, supply is excruciatingly tight.

“Property Vision maintains full oversight of every mandate. We frequently accompany clients on their first visit so we can make in-person introductions and ensure the chemistry is good”

Property Vision’s new international network includes:

• South of France & Monaco: Nigel Hindle & Catherine Gondon (Hindle Baldock)

• Geneva: Silvia Mandracho & Colin Woolcock (Geneva Homes)

• Berlin: Falk Von Oeynhausen (Property Partners Berlin)

• Paris: Susie Hollands (VINGT Paris)

• French, Swiss & Austrian Alps: David Bhagat (Alpine Property intelligence)

• Scotland: Matthew Sinclair (Saint Property)

• Ireland: Robert Fanshawe (Property Vision UK)

• Greece: Marcus Gondolo-Gordon (Property Vision UK)

• Antigua: Andrew Robson (Arawak Estates)

• Barbados: Chris Parra (One Caribbean Estates)

• Mauritius: Jan Minnie (Island Prime)

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