After years of restricted activity in part due to stamp duty and Brexit at the top end of the market, things are changing for London’s most expensive homes.
Knight Frank’s latest market data analysis on the prime London residential market has revealed ‘super prime’ property sales are at their highest level in four years, with year on year sales in excess of £10 million at their most buoyant in the second quarter of 2019.
A significant spike in the number of London buyers has seen the total spending power of prospective buyers in London rise to £51.5 billion in the three months to June.
The research shows that on a quarterly and monthly basis the market has improved although compared with a year ago prices are still lower.
Higher stamp duty has led to price adjustment
Across higher price bands, house prices have adjusted more quickly to the increased stamp duty. Trading volumes and the annual decline in volumes above £2 million is now more conservative than over £1 million.
In Prime Central London (PCL) prices increased by 0.7% month on month, but fell 0.7% quarter on quarter and are still down 4.8% year on year. In the prime outer London market prices fell 0.1% month on month, increased 0.3% quarter on quarter but were down 3.7% year on year.
Delayed Brexit improves London property deals
Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank, said: “The impact of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposed stamp duty cut on property prices is difficult to assess given the lack of detail and the potentially distortive effect on supply and demand.
“However, over the past four years, a combination of higher stamp duty and political uncertainty have restricted activity above £1 million. Since the Brexit deadline was put back to October, sales activity has continued to improve.”
US buyers return to London
Aided by a weak British Pound, American buyers have been actively buying across PCL in contrast to before the vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
Knight Frank confirms in the report that yields on PCL property have broadened in reaction to stronger rental values and decreasing prices. The difference between the PCL gross yield and the benchmark 10 year UK government bond was about 245 basis points in June, the widest it has been in more than 15 years.