Offers this week for estate agents Chestertons


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The Independent Online

Potential buyers will put in offers for one of the UK’s oldest estate agents, Chestertons, this week, after it hung up a £50m “for sale” sign earlier this summer.

The upmarket agent, led by its chief executive, Robert Bartlett, traces its history back more than 200 years to when Charles Chesterton first established the family firm in London’s Kensington in 1805.

Its owner, investment firm Mercantile Group, appointed Cavendish Corporate Finance to help it find a buyer in July. London-based private-equity firm Tridevi Capital also has a minority stake.

Bid documents are expected to be sent out to would-be buyers – a mix of private-equity firms, rival estate agents and larger commercial property consultants looking to quickly bolster their residential businesses – this week, with a deal for the company concluded  by Christmas.

Mercantile merged Chestertons with its other business, Humberts, in 2009, although it split them again earlier this year. That left Chestertons with the London and international offices and Humberts with the UK offices outside the capital.

The sale comes after recent signals of slowing growth in London from its larger listed rival Foxtons, adding to growing signs that the days of huge price surges in the capital’s property market are past.

Agent Winkworth expects 5 per cent growth in London prices in 2015, down from  15 per cent this year.

Asking prices in London have risen in September for the first time in four months, according to data out yesterday. Property listed on Rightmove gained 0.9 per cent this month – the first gain recorded since May.

However, the capital’s average asking price of £557,792 remains a long way short of the record £592,763 which was reached then.

The London boroughs of Enfield and Haringey both saw the largest gains, rising by 3.9 per cent, but Kensington & Chelsea was the biggest loser, with asking prices there dropping 3.7 per cent.

Overall, England and Wales saw a 0.9 per cent rise – the first increase in September for three years.