Legendary investor Warren Buffett is entering London’s estate agency market through a deal with Kay & Co.
Buffet’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, has agreed a franchise deal with the London-based luxury estate agency, under which Kay & Co will rename its three branches Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co from November.
It marks the second global franchisee of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, following a deal with Berlin’s Rubina Real Estate in May.
It will then seek to expand in the prime central London market through acquisitions and joint ventures with other agencies and by adding up to 10 standalone offices over the next decade.
In the US, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services has more than 47,000 agents and almost 1,400 offices.
“London has been among our highest priorities as a key centre for international business and an attractive market for global capital looking to invest in property,” said Gino Blefari, president and CEO of the network. “We are thrilled to enter the market with Kay & Co, a brokerage known for exceptional leadership, knowledgeable, tenured agents and relentless client service.”
Kay & Co serves London’s upscale Mayfair, Hyde Park, Marylebone, Regent’s Park, King’s Cross, Bayswater, Paddington and West End districts.
Kay & Co, founded in 1982 by chairman Samuel Bikhit, remains independently owned and operated.
“We are proud to bring the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand to London,” said Bikhit. “We believe Londoners and our many American clients in the city will embrace the brand and understand its marketing appeal.”
Martin Bikhit, Kay & Co’s managing director, claimed the timing of the brand transition is ideal because an influx of corporations to London will likely drive demand for luxury residential real estate.
“We believe there will be a surge of home-buyer interest in areas across central London, driven by the arrival of global tech giants Apple in Battersea Power Station, Twitter in Soho, Instagram and Snap – the parent company of Snapchat – in Fitzrovia and Google and Facebook in King’s Cross,” Bikhit explained.
“These companies and others have made informed decisions to establish hubs in London. Their employees will need homes in the months and years ahead, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co will be ready to help.”
Kay & Co gains access to the brand’s Global Network Platform, which drives lead generation, marketing support, social media and video production/distribution. The brand also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing programme for high-end listings.
Kay & Co will commemorate its brand membership in November at a gala celebration in London attended by agents, guests and representatives from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
“Our longstanding clients are going to benefit from this international alliance, which will open up opportunities with fellow Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchisees,” Martin Bikhit said. “We are joining a network of top US and German estate agencies and as such we’re very excited for the future.”
DMZ thinks the deal is a great vote of confidence in London’s property market, especially in light of stagnant house prices and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
It will be interesting to see how Buffett uses his business prowess to shake up the capital’s estate agency market.