Crisis? What crisis?

Despite the financial doom and gloom, you'll be pleased to know the super-rich are still getting richer...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010
That seems to be the gist of the news from the world’s property hot-spots, at any rate. In London, sales of properties worth over £10m in the richest boroughs - Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Belgravia - rose by 190 per cent last year, according to a survey by Citi Private Bank and Knight Frank. The capital is now the most expensive place to buy a posh pad in the world, beating transatlantic rival Manhattan into a mere fifth place. Hard working hedge-fund types wanting a place to lay their weary, but fiscally-privileged, heads need to stump up an average of 46,000 Euro per square metre to get a London home with a low W postcode that befits their station.

Even Monaco - despite its tax-haven status and extremely small size - is cheaper than the pick of London’s upmarket addresses, at an average of 43,750 Euros per square metre. It seems that zero income tax and the Mediterranean climate are not sufficient compensation for having to live cheek-by-jowl with a load of brash racing drivers and loud-mouthed retail tycoons.

But despite this apparent immunity to what bankers call ‘the downside’, there are signs afoot that even the mega-moneyed may be about to feel the pinch. Bentley’s chief exec Franz-Josef Paefgen says the top-end car maker is experiencing a slowdown in orders in parts of the US – specifically California and New York. Given that 45% of Bentley’s 10,000 units-a-year output goes to America, this is bad news for the German-owned, but Crewe-based, manufacturer. ‘We are much more afraid of the worldwide banking crisis than of CO2,’ says Paefgen, before adding that the contribution to overall CO2 emissions from his firm's cars is ‘negligible'. Fighting talk, considering that the smallest-engined Bentley is a 6.0 litre giant that does only 11mpg around town.

And with property prices as high as they are at the top end of the market in London, surely it can’t be long before a similar slump in orders hits this side of the Atlantic. After all, a Bentley Continental saloon occupies around 10 square metres of ground, so it would cost you nearly half a million Euros just to buy it a parking space.

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