London Central prices up 12.7%

LONDON: The average price of flats and maisonettes in London Central had increased by 12.7% last year-end, compared to the previous year.

Cited data from the latest quarterly sales statistic by HM Land Registry on Tuesday, Feb 8, London Central Portfolio Ltd said that prices in England and Wales, meanwhile, have fallen on average by 5.6% over the same time, wiping almost £13,000 (RM63,373) off the price of the average home over the course of the year.

This data showed a widening gulf between the domestic UK market and the international investment centre of prime London Central.

In a press release on the same day, London Central Portfolio chief executive Naomi Heaton said this year has demonstrated the resilience of London's premier residential addresses, while the rest of the UK has seen buyers struggling to pull together higher deposits and obtaining less attractive mortgages, the wealthy international investor, with more ready cash, continues to recognise value and security in London Central.

"Current instability in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region is likely to reinforce this. With just 5,676 sales in London Central during 2010 (27% below long term trends), stock remains tight. The right investment opportunities are out there, but professional representation can prove to be the key in securing the best deal," she added.

London Central Portfolio commented in January 2010 that if London Central prices caught up with long term trends by 2016, following the dip in 2008, they would see an increase of 11.5% per annum.

"This appears to have been pretty accurate to date. What is becoming increasingly clear is that there is no 'ripple effect'. London Central does not blaze the trail for the rest of the country — it is simply a different market. A playground for the rich and famous, international demand and limited stock levels will continue to underpin prices," she noted.

London Central Portfolio head of investment management Hugh Best, meanwhile, reckoned that many properties are going under offer within days.

"You need to be the first through the door and the first to offer, but even this is not always enough. Only buyers offering cash can get a look in. Currently cash is the most potent negotiating tool in a competitive marketplace — cash is king," he added.

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