Super-prime time: London surge in high end house sales
Wealthy buyers have been on a spending spree for multi-million pound trophy houses during the last year, with demand for London’s ‘super prime’ residences bucking a wider slowdown in the capital’s property market.
Despite political uncertainty ahead of Britain’s imminent departure from the EU and plans for a new stamp duty on international buyers, activity in London’s ultra high end housing scene has been heating up in the wake of price falls and a drop in the pound that has lured in foreign investment.
Nearly £2bn worth of super prime London homes were flogged in 2018, compared with £1.4bn in the previous 12 months, with new Savills data showing a 43 per cent rise in sales for properties worth more than £15m during the last year
“The sums spent of the very top end of the market demonstrate the ultimate and enduring appeal of London’s most rare trophy properties – both heritage and new – when they come to the market,” said Jonathan Hewlett, head of Savills London residential business.
Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, added: “Despite the backdrop of political uncertainty and a less welcoming tax environment, these figures are clear evidence that London remains an attractive place for a growing pool of international high net worth individuals to live and conduct business.”
Yet despite the boom in appetite for London’s most expensive houses, sales of prime properties below £15m but above £5m have been more sluggish, with stamp duty taxes having a greater effect in putting off buyers.
According to Savills, houses between £5m and £15m have tumbled in overall value by nearly 12 per cent since 2016.
Evidence of weaker activity in London’s wider housing market has also emerged in recent months, with squeezes on household budgets and economic uncertainty helping to fuel a more cautious approach from buyers.
In November The Nationwide Building Society said that buyer appetite was "subdued" and unlikely to pick up soon, while a report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors earlier this month found that a record number of surveyors are predicting that activity in the capital will remain negative over the next three months.
Read more: London housing market faces negative outlook for start of 2019, warn surveyors
In the poorest reading since the survey began in 1999, some 41 per cent more respondents have predicted that property sales will continue to fall, rather than rise, in the capital over the next quarter.