Britain may be in recession, but business is booming for Rupert des Forges, a real estate agent in one of London’s most expensive neighborhoods.
He expects it will take just a few weeks to find a foreign buyer for a 1,530 square-foot, or 140-square-meter, apartment within a mansion, with concierge, in South Kensington that is listed at £3.25 million, or $5 million.
Someone recently bought two larger properties nearby for around £7.5 million apiece.
The buyer was an investor eager to move cash out of the euro zone — in that case, Italy.
From Italy, Greece, Spain and other countries in the European currency union, the affluent these days are moving money into hard assets valued in something other than euros , which have been plunging in value.
Expensive London apartments, valued in pounds , fit the bill nicely.
“Interest from buyers is closely connected to the politics of Europe,” said Mr. des Forges, a partner at the Knight Frank agency who has been in real estate for 23 years and who said he has “never worked harder.”
Flight of cash now poses one of the big financial risks for the euro zone. According to Spain’s central bank, a net €66.2 billion flowed out of the country in March, the most since records started being kept in 1990. And analysts expect signs of an even brisker outflow when new data become available.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page