�19m mansion puts Hampstead at top of property rich list

A �19million palatial mansion in Hampstead has been named as the most expensive house sold in England and Wales this year, new figures reveal.

Hidden from the eyes of the public in an exclusive cul-de-sac, Whitestone House was snapped up in May for the princely sum of �19,250,000. In contrast, the cheapest dwelling in England and Wales – a terraced house in Middlesbrough – sold for �16,000, according to the Land Registry’s yearly review.

The Hampstead pile in Whitestone Lane comes with a swimming pool, staff quarters and commanding views over Hampstead Heath.

Romantic painter John Constable used a studio in the garden to paint the spectacular vista afforded to the Regency house.

It is only one of 14 registered houses to be sold for more than �10million between January and November 2011.

Frank Townsend, director of Savills estate agents in Hampstead, which brokered the sale, said: “You could not get any closer to the Heath, which makes this property extraordinary for that reason alone. The top end of the market has continued apace during 2011 despite the Eurozone crisis.

“But it’s because these issues are raging around us that London has continued to be regarded as a safe haven for people’s money.”

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Whitestone House, which is thought to have been bought by a UK national, sits close to billionaires’ row, The Bishops Avenue, and Winnington Road which is gaining similar notoriety.

Only last week, the Ham&High revealed that a �30million mansion with a pool-cum-ballroom had been put up for sale.

Mr Townsend claims that his Hampstead firm has sold even more expensive properties this year – but the Land Registry might not recognise property sales which do not attract stamp duty, often because they are conducted through companies.

He also added that buyers can ask for the price of the property to be withheld from the public domain.

“Properties around The Bishops Avenue are highly sought after and that’s because people buying them – particularly from abroad – find that they cannot get this sort of property in the West End. By going out of the West End, people get so much more – a detached house and a large garden in Hampstead and only minutes from central London,” he said.

But while the upper end of the housing market is booming, Camden Council has come under fire for not tackling the scandal of empty homes.

The Ham&High earlier this month exclusively revealed that more than 2,700 properties are standing vacant across the borough – 752 of which are owned by the council. Meanwhile, the borough’s social housing waiting list has risen to more than 18,000.