Successful Young Developer Brother Team, Billionaire Clients and the London Real Estate Crash

A black Maybach draws to a halt one morning in July, and two men step out onto the runway at London’s Biggin Hill Airport. Nick and Christian Candy ascend the stairs to their private jet, remove their Berluti shoes to safeguard the silk-and-wool carpet and settle in for the flight to Tuscany, where they’re overseeing the completion of the decks and interior of their new yacht, Candyscape II.The Candys see their yacht and apartment as showcases for the style they can provide their billionaire clients. Born into a middle-class suburban family, the brothers rode to riches as developers and designers of high-end London homes. They took advantage of a property boom that saw prices for the city’s most-expensive pads rise to 6,000 pounds ($9,800) per square foot in 2008 from 2,000 pounds in 2001, according to London- based property consultant Knight Frank LLP.Then came the crash. The FTSE All-Share Real Estate Index fell 67 percent from the end of 2006 to Sept. 3, while shares of Barratt Developments Plc, the U.K.’s largest homebuilder by volume, sank 80 percent. In the six months after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. failed in September 2008, almost no London homes were sold in the so-called super-prime market, where houses start at 10 million pounds.In the first seven months of 2009, 26 10-million-pound-plus homes sold, compared with 75 for all of 2008 and 119 in 2007, according to Savills.
By William Green and Simon Packard, Sept. 9, 2009, Bloomberg

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London’s Nick (36) and Chris (35) Candy in their Monaco Penthouse once owned by billionaire investor Edmond Safra who died in a fire there, Bloomberg, Sept. 9, 2009