Anthony Lassman is well-acquainted with the desires of the ultra rich.
Lassman and his wife, Elaine, launched Nota Bene Global — meaning “note well” or “take note” in Italian — in 2005 to offer tailor-made, travel-planning services to the ultra high net worth crowd. The Lassmans drew knowledge from their careers as publishers of premier travel and destination review guides.
Membership with Nota Bene costs US$26,000 a year, and members get exclusive access to destinations and events, as well as bespoke-level service.
Before he founded Nota Bene, however, Lassman worked as a realtor and property developer in London’s luxury market. Using that expertise, Lassman has aided Nota Bene’s members in purchasing high-end real estate in destinations around the world. His clients are looking to buy everything from full-floor penthouses to historic townhomes in cosmopolitan cities.
According to Lassman, one of the destinations that affluent buyers are most interested in these days is London. There had been a cooling in the market there following the imposition of a higher stamp duty tax in 2014, and prices across the board fell by about 10-15 per cent, Lassman said.
“However, with a weak pound following Brexit, those buying in dollar-related currencies are seeing an additional 18-20 per cent currency bonus so the actual gain can be as much as 30 per cent off the peak point in the market of 18 months ago,” he said.
This has led to a growing interest in London real estate from foreign buyers. Lassman says this trend is most pronounced with buyers he’s worked with from China, the Middle East, Scandinavia, and North America.
“As January closed and we entered February we started to see demand pick up with the canny buyers, especially those holding dollars, realising that now might be a good time to enter the market,” Lassman recently told Business Insider.
He added that while there are still many political and economic uncertainties to consider — some of which may prove detrimental to real estate developers and businesses — foreign buyers who are looking for a deal are currently finding themselves in a good position.
“2017 will be interesting as there are still many factors affecting decision-making in general terms. Brexit is one,” Lassman said. “Yet, the super rich chasing the super-prime look for the long term. As long as they believe they are purchasing the best at a fair price, we see momentum building.”
Other real estate professionals also seem optimistic about the market’s recovery post-Brexit.
Prices are firming up, although they are still considerably off since the top of the market,” Property Vision’s Charlie Ellingworth told the Financial Times. “Where [a home] is good, there is competition — if something looks like a bargain, people will go for it.”