This is why London property is so high right now

But could it be approaching the limit?

London’s prime property world was whipped into a frenzy in Q1 with values growing 13.4 per cent in Kensington & Chelsea compared to 1.7 per cent nationally. But where did the demand originate?

According to Gary Hersham, owner of sales and search agent Beauchamp Estates, Singaporean buyers have benefited handsomely from the exchange rate making central London properties 10 per cent cheaper than five years ago and, further, strengthening of the euro has increased demand from continental buyers, particularly French and Italians.

"The domestic market has also been buoyed by relaxed lending boosted by the launch of the Funding for Lending Scheme in August,"Hersham says in his MarketInsight newsletter. ‘Mortgage approvals are rising and the Council of Mortgage Lenders forecast a further 10 per cent rise in lending in 2013."

Happy news no doubt, but cynics will say that the vertical may be approaching its limit. After all, mean reversion is one of the great truisms of finance and London has, over five years, moved in the opposite direction to the rest of the country, seeing price rises of 6 per cent against national falls of 11 per cent.

The capital’s fortunes depend therefore, says Mayfair’s number-one estate agent, Peter Wetherell, on continued good news on key exchange rates, Government encouragement for overseas investment and strengthening domestic demand. HNWs already invested in London prime will be keeping their fingers crossed, but with the market already well over its pre-crisis highs, the jury is still out.

This story first appeared on Spears magazine.

Photograph: Getty Images

This is a story from the team at Spears magazine.

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How the Lib Dems learned to love all-women shortlists

Yes, the sitting Lib Dem MPs are mostly white, middle-aged middle class men. But the party's not taking any chances. 

I can’t tell you who’ll be the Lib Dem candidate in Southport on 8 June, but I do know one thing about them. As they’re replacing a sitting Lib Dem (John Pugh is retiring) - they’ll be female.

The same is true in many of our top 20 target seats, including places like Lewes (Kelly-Marie Blundell), Yeovil (Daisy Benson), Thornbury and Yate (Clare Young), and Sutton and Cheam (Amna Ahmad). There was air punching in Lib Dem offices all over the country on Tuesday when it was announced Jo Swinson was standing again in East Dunbartonshire.

And while every current Lib Dem constituency MP will get showered with love and attention in the campaign, one will get rather more attention than most - it’s no coincidence that Tim Farron’s first stop of the campaign was in Richmond Park, standing side by side with Sarah Olney.

How so?

Because the party membership took a long look at itself after the 2015 election - and a rather longer look at the eight white, middle-aged middle class men (sorry chaps) who now formed the Parliamentary party and said - "we’ve really got to sort this out".

And so after decades of prevarication, we put a policy in place to deliberately increase the diversity of candidates.

Quietly, over the last two years, the Liberal Democrats have been putting candidates into place in key target constituencies . There were more than 300 in total before this week’s general election call, and many of them have been there for a year or more. And they’ve been selected under new procedures adopted at Lib Dem Spring Conference in 2016, designed to deliberately promote the diversity of candidates in winnable seats

This includes mandating all-women shortlists when selecting candidates who are replacing sitting MPs, similar rules in our strongest electoral regions. In our top 10 per cent of constituencies, there is a requirement that at least two candidates are shortlisted from underrepresented groups on every list. We became the first party to reserve spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for underrepresented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates

It’s not going to be perfect - the hugely welcome return of Lib Dem grandees like Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Julian Huppert to their old stomping grounds will strengthen the party but not our gender imbalance. But excluding those former MPs coming back to the fray, every top 20 target constituency bar one has to date selected a female candidate.

Equality (together with liberty and community) is one of the three key values framed in the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution. It’s a relief that after this election, the Liberal Democratic party in the Commons will reflect that aspiration rather better than it has done in the past.

Richard Morris blogs at A View From Ham Common, which was named Best New Blog at the 2011 Lib Dem Conference

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