Savills senses a move by rich Londoners

Families in London's prosperous boroughs have been postponing moves to bigger pads in the Home Counties while house prices in the capital surge but the trend could be ending, estate agent Savills said yesterday.

London prices have boomed in the past two years in contrast to a virtually stagnant country market, but more buyers are now being tempted outside the capital, according to Savills finance director Simon Shaw.

"It's a bit too early to call it a definitive trend, but if you look at previous downturns we have seen an exodus from the Wandsworths, Claphams and Fulhams to the country, which hasn't really happened so far.

"The rationale is that if you are a property owner in any of these London boroughs the margin for what you could buy (in the country) was ever extending in your favour.

"But you can only postpone a lifestyle decision for so long. There comes a point when you...say if you don't move out now you never will," said Mr Shaw.

With the average price of Savills' country stock at £1.1m, it is "comfortably" within reach of Londoners. overall pre-tax profits rose 7 per cent to £50.4m.

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