Top 10 London Selling
Gary Hersham is to taciturnity what Nijinsky was to dance: he is its complete embodiment. Talking with Spear’s, he does a decent impression of a man who would rather be doing anything else.
But prickliness can be a badge of success. You get the impression he’d rather be selling houses – and he’s legendarily good at that. Perhaps that’s the problem – there are fewer houses to sell. ‘This year people have shied away from buying property or paying the original asking prices,’ he says. This ‘soft market’ is, in Hersham’s view, not so soft as buyers looking for huge discounts would like.
Spear’s asks him about recent sales. After an alarming pause, he says: ‘There have been one or two big sales. We recently sold a flat in Eaton Square for just shy of £25 million – just under £6,000 per square foot.’ He has seen ‘huge rental enquiries coming in from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and mainland China’. Will Chinese buyers be able to get their money out? ‘Yes,’ says Hersham, irritably.
He then asks Spear’s to hold the line while he conducts a client phone call. Eventually he returns. Does he enjoy his job? ‘I meet the most interesting people in the world and, whatever one might think, every race has intellectual and interesting people.’ Then he puts the phone down.