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LONDON-Investment in central London remains a safe bet according to research released today by Lane Fox, the Mayfair-based agency. Given the current supply and demand ratio, driven by a shortage of development opportunities and a tight planning regime, Lane Fox director, Lulu Egerton, said that she could not foresee any change in the long term.

She said, ‘Historically, it is fair to say that the London property market has echoed the movement of the stock market, down almost 1,000 points since the start of the year, although interestingly a surge of ex-stockmarket money is now being put in prime residential property.’ The decision amongst shrewd investors to get out of stocks and shares earlier this year has also helped to fuel the rise in property prices of between 4% to 6% which were seen in central London during the first quarter of the year.

One of the most crucial changes in the market according to Egerton is not that there is any decline in prices but rather it is taking considerably longer to sell property now than it was earlier in the year. She said, ‘Anything up to 70 odd viewings are taking place over a period of three to four months in order to achieve the asking price or, at least get very close to it.’ This changing pattern is linked to the fact that the buying public are uneasy about making expensive purchases given the present economic uncertainty and the possibility of war with Afghanistan.

‘Some people think that economic meltdown is inevitable,’ said Egerton, ‘but, to the less feint-hearted the conditions for buying and selling property have never looked better.’

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