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Golden acres for the green-fingered

Danny Bloch at Glentree Estates says big gardens are now worth around pounds 1m an acre. Three near the edge of Hampstead Heath have been sold for that sort of money as developers look for gaps to fill the demand from well-heeled buyers.

A half-acre at Kenwood Gate in Hampstead Lane is on offer for pounds 1m. But Glentree says the planning permission is for a four-storey building almost 10 times bigger than the average three-bed des res- plus pool, sauna and staff quarters. That could cost up to pounds 3m to build.

Prices out of site

Figures being produced for land outside Millionaire's Row could end up burying some people, says Yolande Barnes of the estate agent Savills. Prices for building sites have soared almost a quarter since the beginning of the year - far more than the value of homes. Either builders know more than buyers - which is unlikely - or there could be a bonanza of bankrupt stock on the market as firms that survived the recession are killed by exaggerated hopes for recovery. Keep an eye out for new homes that remain mysteriously empty towards the end of this year.

Lock development

Don't bother chasing up any buildings around Brentford Lock, however. This is backed by British Waterways, which has won permission from Hounslow planners to redevelop six acres of the old freight depot. Behind the offices and parking will be more than 135 homes ranging from studios to three-bedders, extending the existing residential pattern of the neighbouring Butts conservation area down towards the River Brent.

Market spin

Head-spinning contradictions about the state of the market continue to emerge. Sales fell more than 12 per cent in July, says the Corporate Estate Agent Property Index. Ah yes, but viewings increased, replies the National Association of Estate Agents. And in London, demand is high right across the board, adds the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

City spenders

Prices of country houses in the Home Counties rose by more than 8 per cent between January and July, says Savills. The secret lies in the City of London, which has had such a good time since we pulled out of the European Exchange-Rate Mechanism that top properties are in great demand.

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