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Queries jump for developer of luxury apartments opposite Buckingham Palace

London

THE developer of luxury apartments opposite Buckingham Palace is hoping it can defy predictions of a slump in upmarket London properties.

Northacre - which is developing No 1 Palace Street in St James' Park and The Broadway in Westminster - has had inquiries surge almost three-fold in the first half, compared with a year earlier, Mustafa Kheriba, a director at the London-based company, said in an interview.

"The global pandemic will only increase demand," said Mr Kheriba, who is also deputy chief executive officer and head of asset and wealth management at Dubai's Shuaa Capital.

"This, coupled with the changing environment for property development with a shrinking workforce following Britain's exit from Europe, will impact the availability of stock which in turn will limit stock and push up demand," he said.

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Northacre's optimism comes as broker Savills warns that prices in London's wealthiest neighbourhoods will decline by 2 per cent this year, as the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus discourages overseas buyers.

Still, Northacre expects demand to be underpinned by the United Kingdom's offer to provide British National Overseas passport holders living in protest-hit Hong Kong with a path to UK citizenship.

Buyers from Hong Kong and China make up "10-15 per cent of the appetite for prime central London", Mr Kheriba said. The company is also seeing interest from India, Nigeria and Gulf countries.

"Inquiries in general have been much more focused," he said. "Buyers have had more time to dedicate to their property purchase. Having spent months within the same four walls, they are also much more specific in terms of their needs and requirements."

Northacre generated £60 million (S$105.4 million) of sales from the developments last year. BLOOMBERG

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