‘I think the guy needs to go out and get a proper job and get in the real world,’ says the forthright but erudite McDowell about George Osborne’s repeated attempts to ‘drive a coach and horses’ through the property market. He identifies prime central London as a hub of wealth creation, saying the chancellor ‘needs to nurture it and encourage it, not destroy it.’
However, the combined efforts of the taxman and a global slowdown haven’t prevented McDowell from having one of his best years, acquiring properties worth £25 million-plus in Belgravia and Holland Park. ‘These properties are getting much scarcer and people are getting richer,’ he says. That means the onus is on him to make sure his clients get true value: ‘We have to stay in touch with them, reassure them and make sure we value things at the right sort of level, that we don’t over-value and things don’t sit on the market.’
The fondness his clients have for London means he’ll continue to facilitate their demands, telling them it’s the right time to buy: ‘In a bear market people gravitate to quality.’ It’s clear that applies to service as well as homes.