Thomas Van Straubenzee (above), is the former partner and co-founder of VanHan, who moved to Knight Frank shortly before Spear’s went to press. When we speak, he has just exchanged on a flat in Onslow Square for £5 million and has ‘a couple more exciting deals in the pipeline.’
VanHan, which he co-founded with Rory Penn in 2012, was doing so well in that it added a commercial division and a specialist lettings team before being bought earlier this year by Knight Frank, which was looking to build its global wealth team.
‘There’s definitely an upswing in properties which are selling off-market,’ Van Straubenzee tells Spear’s from his new office at Knight Frank. ‘Sellers aren’t keen to have pricing records in the public domain, but we have seen a steady trickle of properties – Russian, Indian, Chinese and American buyers are all taking advantage of the favourable exchange rate.’
Both Van Straubenzee and Penn are qualified chartered surveyors while Penn also has experience as an investment manager. ‘An understanding of cashflows on the residential side is rare,’ notes Penn, who explains that the duo’s move to Knight Frank will give them access to its ‘network and global platform, offering a highly focused service to both our existing and new private clients’. ‘We have no doubt that this move will be entirely value accretive to clients,’ he adds.