Bankers grab luxury homes

IN a fresh sign that bankers are feeling comfortable enough&nbsp; to splash the cash, enquiries for prime properties in Kensington and Chelsea have jumped in recent weeks, according to estate agents Knight Frank.<br /><br />Goldman Sachs was recently under the spotlight for awarding its 30,000 staff &pound;500,000 each in bonuses, with some top traders set to pocket sums of up to &pound;20m. <br /><br />Estate agents say that since the bonuses were announced last week, a flurry of enquiries for trophy properties have been made by Goldman staff who say they had enjoyed &ldquo;a good year&rdquo;. <br /><br />Unlike previous years &ndash;&ensp;when there was stiff competition from the likes of Citi, HSBC, Barclays, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley bankers for desirable postcodes &ndash; Goldman Sachs and hedge funds are now making the bulk of enquiries.<br /><br />Knight Frank partner Charles Leigh said: &ldquo;We have seen a huge increase in the number of finance based buyers &ndash; the market is feeling a bit more comfortable; those who have held onto their jobs are feeling confident.&rdquo;<br /><br />Leigh added: &ldquo;A number of these buyers also don&rsquo;t want to feel like they have missed the bottom of the housing curve &ndash; and that&rsquo;s pushing volumes up.&rdquo;<br /><br />Knight Frank said some of its&nbsp; offices in prime London locations were reporting sale volumes equal to boom time record highs. <br /><br />And the head of Knight Frank&rsquo;s Kensington office, Tom Tangney, said he has received several enquiries for so-called &ldquo;trophy&rdquo; houses starting from &pound;6m up to &pound;20m.&nbsp; But Tangney added: &ldquo;Attitudes have changed &ndash; they are no longer willing to pay over the odds.&rdquo;