Estate agents in the rarified market of prime central London say that the shortage of stock is so acute that they are having to pro-actively find them and then see if their owners might be receptive to selling.

Hamptons International says that its prime central London team is currently acting more like a buying agent than a sales agent.

It says agents in that market are also having to liaise with fellow agencies to try and find potential deals, such is the shortage of property both on the portals and off-market.

Richard Broer, regional director of Hamptons International, said: “Stock levels are at their lowest, as home owners are reluctant to market their homes, not wanting to over-expose them.

“But there are buyers in the market, investors wanting to make the most of the pound and domestic buyers.

“But there is an absence of homes on the portals, or even the usual stock of off-market properties.

“As such, we are having to act as buying agents to find properties. Our buyers specifying a particular square or street means we are going above and beyond to see who’s interested in selling.

“This approach is reaping fruit: in the last six weeks we have accessed 15 new prime central London homes with owners responsive to sensible offers.

“Like buying agents we are also often having to work closely with other agents to get deals over the line, with one having the buyer and the other the listing.

“We have recently completed an £18m deal with Knight Frank on one home.

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“We were working with the applicant for ten months, viewing homes in Chelsea and Knightsbridge, but we successfully expanded the area and their budget and successfully completed on a property in Belgravia with a ten-day exchange and a ten-day completion.”

Below – the £18m Belgravia property which exchanged within ten days and completed ten days after that

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