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Designs on bargains in London

A LONDON firm, which specialises in fitting out flats, is cashing in on the British capital's ''bargain'' property market by promoting it to investors in Hongkong.

More than 75 per cent of Perring Designs' business is in the territory, according to the company's owner.

Emma Perring said the investor market here outweighed other centres like the United States and Europe.

''People in Hongkong are keen to invest in London,'' she said.

''We are here to make sure the property they buy is furnished so it can achieve the best possible rental.'' Ms Perring set up her own business six years ago and only started dealing in Hongkong a year ago.

Now, because it is occupying the majority of her time, she travels to the territory each month to look for new business and meet clients.

''The people here prefer to deal with someone in person. My agent normally does that, but I like to come out as regularly as I can.'' Ms Perring believed people wanting to buy property in London for investment should look to a specialist to fit out the flat.

Starting at around GBP3,000 (about HK$35,000) for a ''budget'' deal, there were also ''standard'' and ''superior'' packages.

She added: ''It helps clients because it saves them the trouble of sorting out their light shades and plugs from a distance.

''All that is done for them and it works out much cheaper than it would to bring in an interior designer.

''I buy the furniture in bulk and there's a large selection to choose from.

''Properties which receive this specialist treatment find tenants almost immediately. The ones I have dealt with have never been on the market for more than a week after they have been fitted out.

''Those which haven't, perhaps through lack of appeal, may remain on the market for some time.'' Ms Perring has just appointed a new agent in the territory, Juliet Standish.

The company was part of a property exhibition which took place in the Mandarin Hotel over the last month.

London firm Benham and Reeves was marketing a range of London properties, particularly in the Hampstead area.

Managing director Alan Brown echoed the feelings of British agents coming to Hongkong.

''It's our first time here and the response has been fantastic,'' he said.

''I am sure we will be back.''