- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

LONDON — Britain’s capital beat the glamour of Monaco, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo to become the world’s most expensive place to buy prime residential property, a survey showed yesterday.

Prime residential property in London costs an average $4,584 per square foot, according to the “Wealth Report 2007.”

That beat the nearest competitor, the Mediterranean tax haven of Monaco, where prime property costs an average of $4,350 per square foot, according to the survey by British estate agency Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, a division of U.S. banking giant Citigroup.

Their annual report said that top-end property prices were being driven skyward by high net worth individuals — HNWIs, for short. Those would be people who own investable assets worth $10 million or more.

“The dramatic increase in Central London prices against the background of a more sober market has demonstrated the influence of HNWIs upon property,” said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank and author of the study.

The study incorporates a residential index which compares a basket of properties in 70 prime locations around the world, analyzing capital values, rents and investment yields.

“Over the next five years, we believe the trend of growing wealth and greater wealth concentration will continue,” Mr. Bailey added.

“London will be a key location for future investment and will be a conduit through which this wealth will be invested. The prime markets will continue to outperform here in the U.K., Europe and internationally.”

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