Thursday 12 May 2016 2:00 pm

London is still the world's most luxurious property market while Auckland is the "hottest" city according to Christie's International Real Estate

This may come as little surprise, but London has retained its title as the world's most luxurious property market for the fourth year in a row, according to Christie's International Real Estate. 

The capital topped the list of 100 cities surveyed, beating Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore to the real estate top spot, attracting both domestic and and international buyer interest despite the new tax on properties over £1.5m and capital gains tax. 

London had more luxury listings than any other city, as well as the world's second most expensive residential sale in 2015, at £92m. Second place Hong Kong processed the most expensive residential sale last year, at $193m (£134m). 

Read more: London is home to more multi-millionaires than any other city in the world

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World's hottest markets

Auckland, New Zealand, supplanted Toronto, Canada, as the world's "hottest" market in 2015 – based on an increase in the number of luxury home sales, absorption in the luxury market and the decrease in the average number of days properties spent up for sale. The city posted 63 per cent growth in million-dollar plus sales. 

Also topping Christie's "Luxury Thermometer" scale were Victoria in Canada, Valencia in Spain and San Francisco in the US. 

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Read more: London house prices broke the £600k barrier for the first time in April

In addition, Christie's found a number of "comeback" markets were another key trend in luxury housing – these are once-stagnant luxury residential markets that are now witnessing positive turnaround. 

These markets include Auckland, Dublin, Monterrey and Atlanta, among others, which are fuelled by positive economic growth often driven by tech and other similar burgeoning industries, and have experienced high double-digit increases in sales. 

Slowdowns afoot

However, there was a slowdown in prime property sales in London, Hong Kong and New York from late 2015 and into 2016, and Dubai dropped off the high-performers' list altogether.

"The combination of high-volume and record-breaking prices were unsustainable at peak levels," Dan Conn, chief executive of Christie's International Real Estate, said.

"There needed to be a slowdown in these key markets and that is what began to occur in the middle of 2015 and into 2016. This is what we call a "return to realism" year. Beyond that we observed 2015 and 2016 to date as the age of the underdog, with less prominent markets performing extremely well."

Read more: One chart that shows who dominates the London property marke

The slowdowns were driven by macro-economic trends that caused "softening" across the world's financial market, including the Chinese economic slowdown, the drop in the price of oil and commodity prices. 

These issues also resulted in a small contraction in the number of billionaires, according to Forbes. There were 1,810 billionaires worldwide by early 2016, down from a record 1,826 in early 2015. 

These drops also resulted in a "return to realism" for prime property prices, with actual sale prices receiving between a three and 18 per cent discount between the lowest and highest asking prices. 

Asking prices vs actual sale prices for luxury residential sales