Not long ago, a prime London property meant a house with a black door and a big brass knob. Penthouses could be alluring, but their image was just a little too close to their magazine namesake. If you wanted to make a statement about your success, it had to be a house — even if you needed to burrow down to make it bigger.

Why, in any case, would you prefer to buy a leasehold property — which is, after all, just a long rental contract — when you can stretch to a freehold? Who in their right mind would opt in to the agonising world of ground rents, service charges and overpriced managing agents when they could be the sole proprietor of their own home? ….

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