England – One Penthouse apartment sells for $255 million

London’s red-hot property market has struck a new record with the sale of a 140 million pound ($255 million) unfurnished apartment.

The 1,500 square metre penthouse sits atop the One Hyde Park luxury apartment building in Knightsbridge, with views towards Hyde Park and Harrods department store. A source familiar with the matter said an Eastern European buyer bought the apartment for a record 140 million pounds.

Nick Candy, one of the developers of One Hyde Park, confirmed that a penthouse had been sold but declined to comment on the price or name the buyer. Developer CPC Group, which is run by Mr Candy’s brother Christian, said the flat could be worth between 160 and 175 million pounds when furnished.

Britain’s previous record for an apartment was set three years ago by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhemtov, who paid 136 million pounds ($247.8 million) 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, the private company of Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani.

Buoyed by the wealth of Russian oligarchs, Chinese tycoons and Arab sheikhs, 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 seen in the history of mankind,” Mr Candy said.

“There is a concern over the market overheating.

“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 concerns among some top policymakers at the Bank of England about the risks to the broader economy.

ABC/Reuters

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