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London house market returns to tempt international buyers

2017-02-28 13:08:48

London’s prime housing market is expected to outperform its forecast from November. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

London’s prime housing market could be starting to bottom out after two years of house price falls as a slump in the value of sterling and big discounts from sellers tempt international investors back into the market, property brokers say.

According to JLL, a better-than-expected economic performance in the UK since Christmas and an uptick in the number of transactions during the final quarter of 2016 mean that its previous forecasts that house prices in London’s so-called golden post codes are looking "a little conservative".

At a briefing in Abu Dhabi on Monday, JLL said that it now expects the prime London housing market to outperform its November forecasts of flat performance in 2017, 1 per cent growth in 2018, 2.5 per cent in 2019, 3.5 per cent in 2020 and 4 per cent in 2021 – equating to compound growth of 15.2 per cent over the next five years.

"Against a backdrop of quite significant uncertainty in the market and a subdued performance across Europe generally, the story I’m trying to unpack here is a story of relative outperformance against those expectations as they were in Nov­ember," said Adam Challis, the head of residential research at JLL.

The data firm LonRes reported last week that the number of homes under offer in superprime areas such as Chelsea and Belgravia had risen to the highest since before the EU referendum in June.

It said that the volume of offers accepted on prime London homes, which had fallen to less than half of the previous year following the referendum, increased in January to just 4.5 per cent lower than for the same month a year earlier.

Top-end London property ­prices have been falling for the past two years after former finance minister George Osborne introduced changes to stamp duty, which increased the amount of tax paid by purchasers of high-value homes and then added a 3 per cent extra charge for non-owner occupiers. According to Knight Frank, prime London house prices fell by 6.7 per cent in the 12 months to the end of January, with values in Bayswater dipping by 14 per cent.

Knight Frank said that lower prices and the fall in the value of the pound were tempting international investors back into the market, with sales increasing in the final quarter of 2016.

According to the annual Ultra Prime Barometer report produced by Beauchamp Estates, Leslie J Garfield and Iltam Real Estate, together with Dataloft, a marketing intelligence organisation, US dollar-pegged investors in London are getting discounts of about 10 per cent on super-prime London homes compared with before the EU referendum.

The report found that in 2015, the average price of an ultra-prime residential property in Mayfair was US$5,306 per square foot; this has dropped by 10.6 per cent to $4,741 per sq ft currently.


( courtesy of TheNational )