'Prop Int' - Tim Wright, King Sturge

My job involves meeting many of the key individuals in the property world - which is nice - and I'll use this blog to share what I call 'Property Intelligence' with readers.

So here goes with Tim Wright (pictured), head of residential at property consultants King Sturge (and an equity partner in the firm too).

King Sturge has 3,800 staff in 45 countries but, for the purposes of this Prop Int piece, its interesting characteristic is that it consults on, and markets, many of the most prestigious new-build residential developments in central London and Britain’s city centres.

I interviewed Tim in London this week, and began by discussing how King Sturge – whilst active in Res Dev for some years – had now become by far the largest agent acting for city centre developments. He acknowledged that in many centres there are "tower blocks with the lights off because so few properties have been sold" but he is optimistic that the over-supply of new flats that has blighted so many cities will ease in the next two years.

He is especially optimistic that parts of London - particularly Soho and Wapping - will see high quality, innovative schemes coming to the market as soon as late 2010. But he reserves his greatest enthusiasm for what he sees as 'the next big thing' in Res Dev - localism.

"The Tories are mad to take localism into the planning field" he says, referring to the Conservative Party's pledge to give local communities more say - and incentives - in the planning process to determine controversial applications.

"But if we go down that road then developers will complement that by being more regional and local too" he says.

Specifically he expects:

- different regional developments from locally-based developers, who will emerge when the industry and wider economy recover from recession;

- greater regional variations in property type, architecture and specification ("you can already see that Scotland has larger apartments than those elsewhere - these are the local differences I expect to develop" he says);

- greater differences between price recovery across regions. "There will be more emphasis and importance on infrastructure and employment. For example, when much of the BBC moves to Salford, the market there will strength significantly. Other places with more challenging local economies will not see such a recovery";

- land values, as well as property values, will reflect local demand. Wright says much of London land has already recouped perhaps a fifth of the 50% of value it had lost since 2007. "Other places haven't recouped much yet, and the pattern will be patchy."

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