Capitalising on the recovery of ‘über-end’ lifestyle purchases in the amenities estates sector, Holborow and his team achieved some chunky off-market sales in 2015, strengthening their position at the front of the HNW country market. Overall they completed deals in excess of £300 million, including ‘virtually every deal over £15 million’, according to peers.
Indeed, Holborow says 2015 was a better year than 2014 — an uncommon statement among this year’s crop of top hands — and a fitting way for Holborow to chalk up 30 years in the field.
‘The reason is that the spectre of mansion tax was taken off the agenda post-election,’ he says, coupled with a re-appraisal of buyers’ priorities. ‘I think a number of people said, “Actually this might not be a bad time to be buying, before things start to pick up again.” I’m not sure how much they’re going to pick up by, but the perception is they are going to pick up a bit in the country.’
He points to the Soho House empire’s latest venture, Soho Farmhouse, as a taste of the trend towards the ‘low-key’ among his clients. They can perfectly afford a show-off, ‘statement’ property but specifically want something more svelte: ‘It still has all the bells and whistles, in an amazing location — but it’s actually quite a modest house. I think that’s something that may well develop further.’