Buying British pays off

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The Independent Online
The Government's new Buy British campaign, in which you buy nationality rather than goods, has had an immediate impact on the London property market. Those who can prove they have pounds 1m cash and who invest pounds 750,000 in Government bonds, get a visa and possible residency in return. One Hong Kong family has bought eight houses in north-west London within two days for several million pounds.

The houses were bought from the same vendor through Brian Lack & Co in St John's Wood, but a secrecy clause means the location cannot be revealed. The firm has also just sold Graces Mews off Abbey Road - eight new houses at pounds 295,000 each - to Far East purchasers. Older and wiser First-time buyers are getting older, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. In 1991, 30 per cent were below 25. By 1992 that figure had fallen to 27 per cent and last year it was 25. No doubt many were discouraged by seeing older friends fall into the negative equity trap. As a safeguard, first-time buyers are putting down larger deposits. In 1988, the average building society advance leapt from

79 to 85 per cent of the purchase price. The jump was caused largely by the increase in buyers taking out 100 per cent mortgages. Now the average advance has fallen back to 81 per cent, as high mortgage indemnity premiums make 100 per cent mortgages far less attractive.

Rich picking

Colefax and Fowler - its English country house style sprouted in every tiny Edwardian terrace in the 1980s - has overseen the redevelopment of one of the grandest houses on Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensington. The house is predictably rich in swags and drapes, but less chintzy than it might have been five years ago. It has six bedrooms and four reception rooms and a 100ft garden with a children's play area and a garage and is being sold by Chesterfield and John D Wood for pounds 3.3m with a 70-year lease.

Auction dates For those brave enough to take on increasingly predatory property developers, repossessions are still coming up at auction. Key dates are Barnard Marcus (081-741 9990) on 12 July, Allsop & Co (071-494 3686) on 19 July, Edwin Evans (071-228 5864) on 21 July and Winkworth (081-686 6667) on 27 July.

Ring the auctioneers for a catalogue, then see the property and get a survey before you even think of sticking up your hand.