The property market in central London is continuing to motor away from the rest of the UK, according to analysis of the latest official Land Registry figures.
Prices in London Central (the Land Registry's term for the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and City of Westminster) rose by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, bringing the rise over the previous year to 10 per cent. For England and Wales as a whole, prices fell by 0.7 per cent on the quarter and by 3.3 per cent for the year.
Since the depth of the property bust in 2009, prices in England and Wales have floated up by a gentle 11.2 per cent but flats in London Central have rocketed ahead, growing by 28.8 per cent.
Interestingly, the figures also show that the number of transactions in London Central has continued to fall, to a new low of 1,186 in the first quarter of which a mere 186 were houses. Clearly, both owner-occupiers and investors are unwilling to part with what may well be the only asset they hold that is actually increasing in value.
The future is likely to be more of the same.
The elections in Greece and France have fuelled uncertainty and doubt throughout the Eurozone and forced the wealthy to re-examine their options. Many are looking at prime central London as a safe haven for their investment funds.
The election of France's first socialist president in decades sparked a surge of searches on estate agents' websites and Google for properties for sale in London, especially for properties in the £5m+ bracket despite the prospect of a mansion tax.
We expect an influx of both investors and immigrants including French bankers and entrepreneurs coming over here for the more business-friendly environment. This invasion on two fronts will boost both ends of the market, with lettable flats at the lower end being snapped up by investors and large family homes being in demand from business people looking for somewhere to live.