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Archive - Saturday, 3 June 2000
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Sold - The flats that haven't even been built
NOT a brick has been laid. A pile of rubble and steel on the site of a disused petrol station is all investors have to show for the £7 million they decided to pay out.
As property prices continue to rise at rates not seen since the boom years of the late Eighties, 30 out of 38 luxury flats in a Brighton seafront development have already been sold.
That's not unusual in itself, but the fact that none of them will be built for at least another year-and-a-half definitely is.
Super-confident buyers are paying between £200,000 and £500,000 each for properties ranging from a one-bedroom flat to a penthouse suite, hoping the high inflation continues.
Without seeing any more than an artist's impression of the Van Alen Building in Marine Parade, deposits worth almost £1 million have already been collected.
A spokesman for developer Berkeley Homes said: "It's quite remarkable.
"It just goes to show the extreme interest there is in living in Brighton at the moment."
The news comes two days after it was reported that the average price of a detached home in Brighton and Hove has risen above £200,000 for the first time.
Overall, the Sussex property market is following the boom in London prices, as thousands of workers choose to commute rather than live in the capital.
It is believed several property speculators have invested in the Van Alen Building.
Van Alen looks set to attract only the wealthiest clientele to the new properties, which look distinctly like the Thirties flats at Embassy Court once did.
During the week Dave Goldin, southern regional operations manager for Fox and Sons, warned of overpricing pushing first-time buyers out of the housing market.
But the luxury market seems unaffected.
When the flats are completed they will have CCTV, whirlpool baths and a concierge.
At the moment, old petrol tanks are being dug up and the site decontaminated as work begins on the underground car park.
The average house price for the South East is now in excess of £120,000, but Mark Wiseman, director of Hall's estate agents, said: "People are being more cautious on the whole.
"There is a fear of negative equity, as happened in the late Eighties.
"Whoever is investing in property has quite a lot of choice at the moment, so they are not just throwing money at places, however much they cost."
Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.