Bubble fears spark sell off in Grosvenor assets

Kasmira Jefford
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THE DUKE of Westminster’s property group has reduced its exposure to London’s luxury residential market amid fears that prices have overheated, it said yesterday, as it revealed a 38 per cent rise in profits.

Grosvenor Group said it had“taken advantage of favourable pricing” to sell around £240m of residential properties in areas such as Belgravia and Mayfair.

However, its overall exposure to residential in the UK rose from £1.13bn to £1.20bn as it continued to invest in mid-market properties.

“We have been concerned about the level of property values in some markets, particularly in prime central London residential,” chief executive Mark Preston said.

Pre-tax profits increased to £506.9m in the year to 31 December compared with £367.8m the previous year. The group generated a total return of 9.7 per cent, up from 7.2 per cent last time.

Revenue profit (which strips out the impact of property revaluations) rose 78 per cent in the Americas, helping to offset a decline in Asia.