Off-plan buyers have returned to the London housing market and are putting down deposits of thousands of pounds for homes that will not be completed for at least a year, amid a shortage of property for sale in the capital.

Barratt said that it has received reservations worth 10% of the full asking price for almost half the flats at its 10 Rochester Row development in Westminster, six months before the launch and a year before the scheme is due for completion.

The Times