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James Caan nabs a bargain

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The Dragon has been busy buying up exclusive property around the capital for knockdown prices.

Across the UK, property prices are up to 30 per cent cheaper than last year. And for some tough negotiators, the savings are even greater.

“I got a call from an estate agency recently asking if I was interested in a property,” recalls Caan. “I said, ‘Are you dumb? Or do you just not read the papers?’ You have 11 seconds to pitch.”

The agent was selling a property in a prime real estate location: London’s Mayfair. A stone’s throw away from the tiny office Caan leased when he first started out in business.

He’s come a long way from those penny-pinching days. Caan was offered this property at £3,000 per square foot.

Conducting this negotiation on the move from his chauffered car in London – Caan is a huge fan of his BlackBerry – he took a slight detour to look at the property and decided to make a play.

“Property usually goes for around £5,000 per square foot in Mayfair,” says Caan. “But there was no way that I was going higher than £1,500.”

In the end, Caan got his hands on the place for a song: £850 per square foot. That’s 80 per cent off the asking price.

The millionaire attributes the deal to his knack for mobile working: “I was in the right place at the right time. If I had hesitated, or set up a meeting for a week’s time, the property would have already gone,” he says. “It was a no brainer.”

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