One of the country’s oldest agencies may be under new ownership soon.
The fast-expanding Lomond Group - which just last week announced the acquisition of two small independent letting agencies in the north of England - is reported to be after the historic London firm Chestertons.
Over the weekend Sky News reported that the Lomond Group - backed by private equity money - was detailed negotiations about a deal that could value Chestertons at nearly £100m.
Sky quoted unnamed sources saying the talks were in their early stages “and cautioned that a deal was not certain to happen.”
If it does happen it will be a step up for the hitherto-smaller operations of the Lomond Group, which was created by a merger of Lomond Capital and regional agency chain Linley & Simpson nearly a year ago.
Chestertons has also given its rental market forecast, predicting that rents in the capital will rise in 2022, albeit at a slower pace than this year, due to the continued return of tenants and a shortage of rental stock.
It says rents in Greater London will rise five per cent in 2022, and then between two and three per cent over each of the following four years.
Chestertons head of lettings Richard Davies says: “With tenants continuing to return to London in greater numbers and a continued shortage of rental properties, we expect rents will continue to rise in 2022, albeit at a slower pace.
“We forecast that rents across the higher value London locations will grow by eight per cent in 2022, and rents in prime central London by 10 per cent. Rental growth across Greater London will be lower at around five per cent.
“This is good news for landlords who are starting to see yields creep up above four per cent in some areas, a fact that may encourage a return of buy-to-let investment, which has been largely absent since the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge for second homes in 2016.”