London sets record with $237m apartment sale
London, May 3, 2014
London's red-hot property market has struck a new record with the sale of a £140 million ($237 million) unfurnished apartment, but even the developer of the opulent building warned that some asking prices in Britain were unsustainable.
Buoyed by the wealth of Russian oligarchs and Arab and Chinese tycoons, London has become one of the world's most expensive markets, raising concerns ahead of national elections in 2015 that locals are being squeezed out of the market.
"We're in boom-time prices, more expensive than we've ever been in the history of mankind," said Nick Candy, one of the developers of London's One Hyde Park luxury apartments, at the pinnacle of the capital's super-prime residential sector.
"There is a concern over the market overheating," he said. "Everyone thinks the main central London is doing so well, (so) the ripple effect is going throughout the UK, and some of the prices being achieved are probably unrealistic and not sustainable."
But money is still pouring in, adding to concern about a property bubble in London.
House prices across Britain have not recovered their levels from before the financial crisis struck in 2008, but they are rising at about 10 per cent a year, prompting some top policymakers at the Bank of England to sound increasingly concerned about the risks to the broader economy.
A source said an Eastern European buyer bought a penthouse at the One Hyde Park apartment block for a record £140 million.
Candy confirmed that a 16,000 square foot penthouse had been sold but declined to comment on the price or name the buyer. Developer CPC Group, which is run by his brother Christian, said the flat could be worth £160-£175 million when furnished.
Britain's previous record for an apartment was set three years ago by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhemtov, who paid £136m for a penthouse and apartment at One Hyde Park to knock together into one property.
There have been more than $2 billion in sales at the block, whose developer is a joint venture between CPC Group and Waterknights.
Candy & Candy, run by Nick Candy, were the interior designers and development managers for the project.
The wall of money chasing a finite amount of property has sent luxury London prices soaring almost 80pc since 2009, and while plutocrats' ostentatious purchases grab the limelight, prices have rocketed even in poorer areas.
Prime central London house prices have risen 79.4 per cent since March 2009, against a 40.6 per cent increase in Greater London house prices over the same period, according to data from Savills.-Reuters