It seems that 2011 has started well as reports around London reveal that the shortage of stock in central London means that agents are turning over sales within a week. Many prime London Estate Agents are reporting a surge of activity since the year began, and some are predicting that bonus and cash-rich buyers, alongside the international set, will continue to safeguard the capital from any wider UK market downturn in 2011. It’s reported that properties in the prime residential roads around central London are almost exclusively bought by cash-rich buyers. The small number of investors that chose to use finance generally have no problem accessing mortgages at the very best rates and are often tempted to do so in order to boost their investment for little additional cost. Subdued lending levels will therefore have little impact on property prices in prime central London. Certainly for the last couple of year’s cash rich buyers from Asia have played a huge part in keeping the residential market ticking over. London still continues to be viewed by international buyers as a safe long-term investment. In the last quarter of 2010, there was also a marked increase in the number of buyers from Europe, eager to shore up their wealth, while the single currency comes under renewed pressure yet again. The resurgence of City bonuses has already led to an increase in viewings of properties within a convenient commuting distance of London’s financial districts. Despite the Government’s proposals to rein in bonuses, the City is expected to pay an average £7bn this year, and we expect the property market to be encouraged by this. In spite of this increasing demand for property, supply remains limited, with property owners in no great rush to sell. Demand is such that we are selling some properties before they are advertised and the average length of time a property is on the market is down to just seven days. We expect stock levels to remain relatively low this year, helping to underpin prices and further differentiating London from the wider UK market. It’s a good start to the New Year after the extremely quiet run up to Christmas, and certainly the positive news we all need to hear to combat the continued beating down of the property market with regards to price drop reports from some of the larger high street lenders. It might be that cash rich overseas buyers with money burning a hole in their pockets are responsible for keeping the UK property market alive and buoyant at the moment but I think all in all we really can’t complain as for the majority of us it does mean that we are still able to sell our properties for a reasonable price in a sensible amount of time.