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London on top of the world

Property prices for luxury homes in London exceed those of all other cities in the world, according to estate agent Knight Frank, with the price per square foot of prime properties in the capital averaging out at £2,300.Properties in Belgravia and Knightsbridge cost the most, with an average £3,000 asking price per square foot.Such figures mean that the cost of London's properties exceed those of Monaco, where buyers will pay an average £2,190 per square foot, New York, which costs £1,600 for the same amount of space and Hong Kong, where a square foot in a prime spot can be had for just £1,230. More than half of all prime London sales went to foreigners in the first quarter of 2007. Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, explained: "The most expensive cities are those where rich international buyers congregate, and no other city is as international as London. "Its time zone and language - convenient for businessmen from the US to the Middle East to Asia - all conspire to make London the leading financial centre, and that has boosted house prices." Mr Bailey also said that although inflation was expected to slow, the trend of growth in the capital was likely to continue as demand for luxury villas meant that sellers could push up asking prices.He concluded: "There will be a significant demand and supply imbalance in the best prime market locations. Price growth this year will be lower than in 2006, although we predict prime markets will outperform mainstream markets by quite a margin."

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