Regardless of whom you read, Brexit is having a negative impact on central London housing. An October 17 European Union summit was presaged by European Council president Donald Tusk saying yesterday there is “no grounds for optimism” given the state of negotiations. Coupled with fresh inflation data, the pound was down again. Since the Brexit vote, the pound has almost exclusively traded +/-$1.30 where as it typically had ranged in the $1.50-$1.60 range previously.

Adding to the stress, in early October, two more large financial institutions announced plans to shift some London operations to Paris with whispers of more to follow. Financial services is one of the largest employers in London as well as one of the highest paid. Removing significant quantities of high earners will cause a glut in some price bands as relocated staff sell up for Gay Purr-ee.

During my London holiday, I was able to meet with a host of HGTV’s House Hunters International, Richard Blanco. A Spanish national growing up in the UK, Blanco was schooled in theater and dance – a story common to many real estate professionals whose early interests gave way to a profession in property. So far Blanco has chalked up over 30 House Hunters International episodes, including being the only presenter to work in multiple countries (eagle eyes have seen him in Spanish episodes). He’s currently a spokesperson for the UK’s National Landlords Association and is a regular commentator on various television shows – in fact, Blanco had popped into the BBC earlier in the day. For those wanting a regular dose of the London property market, Blanco produces a monthly podcast Inside Property.  In his spare time, Blanco flips homes he buys at auction.

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A Wallet-Emptying View of Sacre Cour from Champs Elysées Penthouse

A Wallet-Emptying View of Sacre-Coeur from Champs Elysées Penthouse

You have to hand it to the French.  Here in the US, we’re thrilled if we can cobble together real estate sales and rental data going back a few years.  In preparation for my trip to Europe on Friday, I took a look at what data was available in Paris.  A lot.  Easily downloadable are the purchase and rental data for Paris from 1200 to 2016.  Yes, the year 1200 … 816 years of data at your fingertips.  The data is tracked by the Conseil Général de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable (CGEDD).  Quite a mouthful.

Looking back a bit more reasonably to 1965, there are some interesting comparisons to be made.  First of all, the average property in the US as measured by Freddie Mac and Case-Shiller was consistently higher than in France from 1965 until 2001, when the costs merged.  From that point onwards, French residential real estate has greatly outperformed the U.S. market.

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Mayfair two bedroom condo, 2,215 square foot unit listed at £5,600,000

Mayfair two-bedroom condo, 2,215-square-foot unit listed at £5,600,000

Being in London last week, I decided to sniff around for you.

The London housing market has been a story of ever-increasing growth for quite some time.  There are several reasons for this.  The sustained growth and enormous bonuses of the financial sector.  The growth of London as a technology hub. The ever-growing ex-pat community, especially from oil exporting countries, and more recently Asia.  And the overall “wealthing” of the local population.

However a few factors have been conspiring to give buyers a slight break.  In the first quarter of 2016 prices in tony areas of London have fallen. In luxurious Knightsbridge, home of Harrods, prices have fallen nearly 7 percent. South Kensington shed nearly 5 percent while other tony areas of the city including Hyde Park, Chelsea, Notting Hill and Belgravia (Upstairs Downstairs location) have all recorded varying drops.

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Leeds at the Cafe Charlot where we met

Leeds at the Cafe Charlot where we met

You’ve undoubtedly seen the often beret-wearing Adrian Leeds traipsing around Paris on HGTV’s House Hunters International. She helps sticker-shocked expats retool their Parisian dreams to focus on what’s important. After that, it’s time to get down to business.

If Leeds’ accent sounds pretty American, it’s because she’s New Orleans-born, living the Paris dream for 21 years and counting. Interestingly, she has Dallas family connections, too. Her résumé shows a marketing and PR pro with experiences ranging from corporate PR to television and print. Understanding communication and reading client needs are good tools for any real estate agent. But how’d she wind up in Paris and how’d she wind up as HGTV’s de facto representative for real estate in the City of Light? I met with Leeds on a recent trip to Paris to find out.

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I love hearing about real estate life in the U.K. When it comes to health care, they are trying to reform their socialized regime — which is both awful and wonderful, depending on who you talk to — even as the U.S. steers towards socialized medicine. (The Brits want it to be less socialized.) Now as we contemplate dumping the mortgage deduction, which some call a U.S. subsidy of housing, the Brits are concerned that younger U.K residents may have “house envy” and a “sense of resentment from young people towards the housing wealth acquired by those aged over 40 when housing was more affordable”

The new findings, published in the second annual Barratt HomeBuyer’s Panel, suggest that limiting the ability of young people to buy their first home will cause ‘inter generational tension’ and long-term social problems. The U.K has had a bubble, and housing there is among the most expensive in the world. The article says Britain’s young people do not want to adopt the European model, which some experts would like to see more of in the U.S., where families rent homes for the duration of their life. Experts say this dilemma could create a generation rift.

Like, they might start throwing things?