London developer Galliard is well known to buy-to-let investors as a significant player in the new-build apartment market but the company, and its landlord customer base, have been through difficult times since the Coronavirus lockdown hit.
LandlordZONE talked to its sales boss David Galman to find out how far the company has been prepared to go to secure sales from landlords.
Galman is the first to admit that extraordinary times require extraordinary action, revealing that he’s signed off deals for purchasers that would have not been given the green light before the pandemic. Even before the lockdown, we featured claims that developers like Galliard were offering 20% discounts on properties being sold outside of the Help to Buy scheme.
Before that, he was prepared to do deals at completed developments with properties left unsold, but not the more desirable properties still under construction.
This kind of approach has had to be set aside to get sales during the lockdown, even if it means cutting margin. But for buyers who had already reserved but not completed on newbuild properties it was a different story.
“With our landlord buyers, we had completions happening at our developments in Canary Wharf and Romford – spanning both ends of the market – and the investors there obviously tried not to complete because they wanted to utilise the situation to their advantage,” he says.
“And who can blame them. But we got the letting agents on the case to persuade them that, despite the lockdown, there were tenants waiting to rent their apartments and that if they waited, they’d all be competing for tenants en masse once the lockdown ended.”
“We found that tenants were prepared to commit to a brand new furnished property after only a virtual viewing.”
Galman also tells LandlordZONE that his company has for the first time become a landlord itself at a site in the London Borough of Havering where all 98 flats are to be rented out directly, which he says is a PRS first or the company.