Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Prime Central Lunacy

Prime Central London, as the agents call it, is arguably the world's most dynamic and valuable property market.

OK, so Monaco may be more expensive but it's small and even those who live there don't really want to live there. They merely save tax there. In reality, it's claustrophobic and full of people you'd rather not know.

Hong Kong is a challenger when it comes to price growth, but it's hot, humid, chaotic and ideal for the young out to make it.

Singapore could be a contender, but it's a sort of Asian Zurich. Ordered, obsessively managed,very controlled and not a lot of fun.

Manhattan is up there, of course. But somehow, the 'new world' has become the old world. It's a bit of a theme park nowadays. Noisy, aggressive, dirty, arrogant and insular - but in a pre-packaged, cynical  sort of Disneyesque way.

Paris or Rome represent no challenge to London at all. Unless you want to live in the past. Yes, they're beautiful, life is wonderful. But they are ultimately little more than social and cultural museums.

It's not surprising then that every billionaire this side of Texas wants/needs a big bit of Prime multi-national London.

And if the billionaires are here, so are those who feed off them. The bankers, the lawyers, the accountants, the advisers, the luxury brands, the interior designers - you name it.

One Hyde Park. At £6000 per square foot
the most expensive Candy you can  buy. 
On top of that you've got Parisians running away from a virulent strain of anti-capitalism called Hollande, Arabs escaping the heat and rigid rules of their home countries, Chinese stashing cash away from communist eyes, Indians wanting to show their one-time colonial masters that they're rich now, Russians worrying they might one day fall out with Putin and Italians/Greeks/Spanish running away from a tax man called Austerity.

London's may these days be the ultimate melting pot but it's also one gigantic cash box.

These people don't necessarily all want to live here. Some just want a stake in a stable country, a world capital with a relatively welcoming tax regime and a reliable legal system.

By way of example, the house I rent in Chelsea is owned by an Italian salami maker!! As far as I know he's never even been here and the investment is managed by his adviser in (where else) Monaco.

It's a mad, mad world.

And it's in this Prime Central world that my Buying Agent has recommended we ply our trade as would-be posh 'do-er uppers'.

Can we cut the moutarde?

The world borough of Kensington & Chelsea

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