Anyone driving a BMW 3-series convertible in London probably knows the price has doubled since 1991. A three-bedroom home in Chelsea fetches almost three times what it cost 18 years ago. And at Le Gavroche, the two-Michelin- star menu favored by bankers since the Big Bang of the 1980s, dinner will set you back 33 percent more than you paid when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
It’s another story in the City of London, where office rents in the U.K.’s main financial district are falling to 1991 levels as job losses and a mistimed building boom depress prices.
The City already has enough empty offices to hold two- thirds of Canary Wharf, the docklands area developed 1 1/2-miles east in the 1980s to lure investment bankers. About 9 million square feet (855,000 square meters) are available in the City and that may climb to 12 million by the end of 2009, according to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the biggest commercial property broker. Almost 19 percent of all City offices may be vacant next year, analysts at CB Richard Ellis estimate.
Read the full article by Chris Bourke “Rents Crashing in London to 1991 Prices Le Gavroche Shows Gone” at Bloomberg.com (May 13 2009).