Almacantar has disinstructed the sales agents for its flats at its iconic luxury residential Centre Point development as the offers currently being made are “detached from reality”.
The company led by chief executive Mike Hussey has “stood down” CBRE and Knight Frank on the 82-flat scheme “until further notice”. Any enquiries for the flats will now be dealt with by Almacantar’s in-house sales team.
Sentiment surrounding the London residential market has nosedived over the past two years, exacerbated by increases in stamp duty and the forthcoming hike in taxation for overseas investors.
Almacantar said it was resisting pressure to sell flats at reduced pricing as it had already paid off the construction debt previously held against the project having sold half of the properties at its target pricing and fully leased the 48,000 sq ft retail component.
We are confident that we will get back to the right pricing once we have clearer guidance on fiscal policy, an orderly withdrawal agreement from the EU and the added benefit of the opening of the Elizabeth Line.
At launch in 2015, Almacantar had sought £55m for the 7,223 sq ft five-bedroom penthouse apartment at the project, reflecting a capital value of £7,615 per sq ft. The price being sought for the 744 sq ft one-bed flats started at £1.8m or £2,419 per sq ft with an overall average of around £3,500 per sq ft. Work on the 33-storey project began that year and the first Centre Point residents moved in at the start of 2018.
The company is also in the process of developing Marble Arch Tower, the 54-flat luxury project which is due to complete in 2020.
Hussey said: “We can confirm that the board has considered the wider macro political position and concluded that while there is significant interest from buyers in the residences, offers are now reflecting uncertainty on potential changes to stamp duty, taxation of overseas investors and other fiscal policy proposals.
“Having sold 50% of the apartments, cleared the construction debt and fully leased the retail component, we see no point in chasing a market that is increasingly detached from reality.
“We have already achieved our asking prices and when buyers feel more confident about the wider macro situation, they will also feel more confident about paying these prices again.”
Knight Frank chairman Alistair Elliott said a relaunch of the flats next year after the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union on 29 March and closer to the opening of the nearby Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road “makes a lot of sense”.
“Almacantar is one of the most respected developers in the market, delivering the best mixed-use projects in London and always thinking about things laterally.
“Centre Point is a sensational product and a relaunch in the spring of next year makes a lot of sense.
“We are confident that we will get back to the right pricing once we have clearer guidance on fiscal policy, an orderly withdrawal agreement from the EU and the added benefit of the opening of the Elizabeth Line.”
CBRE chairman of residential Mark Collins added: “Centre Point Residences is a beautifully executed project that we believe will have enduring appeal in the market.
“We support the decision to relaunch the few apartments left in the spring and will be ready to take off again with a clear runway ahead.”
Almacantar bought the Harry Hyams-developed building at 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC1, in 2011 for around £120m from the administrators of a subsidiary of Targetfollow.
Last month, Almacantar concluded a strategic review that had explored the possibility of bringing in new investors or selling the company.
However, it concluded with the company’s existing backers to recommit to the developer, which is expected to see it invest a £1bn over the next three years.