As Managing Director of an international supply chain operation, thinking globally comes as second nature for India-based Gautam Bhagat. And naturally, when it came to making a significant property investment, it was a case of scanning the international market for an opportunity that best fitted the bill. So why Woolwich? And why now? Gautam shares more:
Was this your first property investment?
Not at all. I’m invested in several locations across the globe, Portugal being one example. That said, this was my first investment in London; a city that’s been on my radar for a long time.
Can you explain why London was on your radar?
On the one hand, it’s a city I’m familiar with, both through business and from travelling there to see friends. So, in many ways I’ve seen how it has changed over time: the buzz, the volume of activity - and I suppose you can’t help wanting to be a part of that.
And of course there’s the investment case for it. If like me, you’ve kept an eye on the international investment scene over the years, then London as a potential opportunity is hard to ignore. So yes, it was a case of familiarity along with a strong reputation which combined to draw me towards London as a possible target.
How do you go about picking the right property investment?
First of all, for me, it’s all about timing. If I have the funds available and I’m ready to invest, then it’s a case of taking a good look at what’s out there. I might pick up ideas from friends, do some general personal research, take into account the knowledge I’ve picked up over time – there’s no hard and fast process that I follow.
But I want the background behind the investment. And I also want the facts, the upsides and the downsides, without a hard sell. Once I’ve got all of this, I can make up my own mind about whether a particular opportunity is right for me.
So if there are projected growth figures - then where are they coming from? What’s driving that growth? What’s happening in this particular area? Is there anything I should be aware of? These are the type of questions I’m mostly focused on.
How did IP Global shape up when it came to helping you choose?
I got everything I needed to make my decision. The consultants know their stuff. More importantly, they know their particular investments. All questions answered and no hard sell, exactly what I was looking for.
So what made you decide to invest in?
Firstly, the timing was right. I was ready to invest and it met my criteria in terms of the level of outlay required.
But the simple answer is that I liked it from an investment perspective - and I liked it from a personal point of view, too. I’m familiar with nearby Canary Wharf, having stayed there on holiday with friends who live there. So I knew about the potential opportunities that might exist east of the City of London.
That said, I needed to find out more about this particular location in Woolwich, and I liked what I saw. You’ve got a pocket of London that’s very much on the up in terms of regeneration; you’ve got strong demand (and I can see why); and you’ve got the new Crossrail train line coming, which will make journey times into the centre of town even shorter. It seemed a natural continuation of what had already happened with places like Canary Wharf. So from an investment sense, everything added up.
Personally,, the location, the accessibility into the city and the good quality spec. I could see myself using it!
Why was it important to personally like this property?
It will be about two years until the property is ready. Who knows what I’ll be doing then? I’m definitely not ruling out the possibility of using the apartment for myself. If not, I’ll have the rental income from it.
That’s one of the big things I like about property investment. On the one hand, you’ve got the obvious; it’s there to offer you another asset class on top of your stocks and whatever else you may hold for a diverse portfolio.
But also, it gives you flexibility. If you want to, you can make personal use of it. That’s what I like.
How was the ‘admin’ side?
Everything went through with no problem. IP Global arranged a lawyer for me and the purchase went ahead in January of this year without any headaches.
You got a friend involved in this development. How did that come about?
Yes, a Canadian friend of mine was ready to make a purchase and was considering his options. I had told him that I was more than happy not just with my investment but also with my experience with IP Global. Now he’s on board, too.
What does the future hold in terms of future investments?
Who knows? I’m still in the early stages with this London property and I like the idea of keeping my options open with that. As for future opportunities, I’ll see what’s happening globally when the time comes.
Our modern town centre developmentis located in the heart of Woolwich, offering comfortable and convenient living close to the future Crossrail station.