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Coutts London Prime Property Index | Q4 2019

Our latest analysis of the luxury property market in London finds high-end house prices rising in response to higher demand and short supply.

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Our latest report on luxury property in London finds prices rising fast towards the end of last year as the UK election result and move towards Brexit certainty boosted buyer confidence.

-11.8%

Fall in high-end houses on the market compared to last year

+4.8%

Increase in London luxury property prices in Q4 2019, the vast majority of the 5.3% growth over the whole year

+10.1

Rise in prime property sales completed in the capital compared to last year

  • Chapter 01

    Overview

    Luxury property prices across the city rose 5.3% over 2019, but 4.8% of that came in the final quarter alone. Demand is also on the up, with 10.1% more places sold in the last quarter of 2019 than the last three months of 2018. As Brexit-related worries eased, overseas buyers will have been motivated to move quickly while sterling remained under pressure.

    Meanwhile, the number of high-end houses displaying ‘For Sale’ signs is extremely low and continues to drop, falling -8.9% in the last quarter of 2019. There are now -11.8% fewer prime properties for sale on the open market compared to a year ago. New listings also fell by -16.5% in the last three months of last year, and have more than halved since the market high back in the summer of 2014.

    Despite all this, it remains a buyers’ market, with prices still lagging the 2014 peak by -11.1%, and properties in some pockets of London, such as Hammersmith & Chiswick, selling for -19% less than they were then.

    Katherine O’Shea, from the Coutts Real Estate Investment Service, says competition among buyers is likely to increase this year, putting further pressure on prices.

    “Historically, the number of properties put up for sale has usually improved in the first quarter of the year, so we would expect more homes to come on to the market over the coming months,” she says. “But the number of buyers is also likely to rise as the political uncertainty of the last few years continues to unwind. This increased demand could push prices higher.”

    She adds: “The numbers for the last quarter of 2019 could be showing us a distinct change of mood in the luxury property market. It’s been subdued and filled with uncertainty for some time, but we’re now seeing the potential for brighter times ahead.”

    Property purchases may cost more for overseas buyers

    Alex Lyneel, Home Buying Strategy Manager at Coutts, says one thing overseas buyers should be aware of is the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) reform expected as part of the UK government’s next budget on 11 March.

    He explains, “One of the expected changes to SDLT is the introduction of a new 3% surcharge for overseas buyers of residential properties.

    “No formal announcement is expected before budget day but, as we’ve seen in the past, the changes could be introduced overnight. This means they might apply to all transactions which exchange contracts after midnight on 11 March.

    “Prospective buyers could therefore look to push through their purchases now to avoid paying extra. That’s what we’ve seen happen with previous stamp duty hikes over the last few years.”

     

    Sellers less likely to budge on prices

    Fewer luxury properties are being sold at a discount too, as sellers aware of the lack of choice stick to their guns on asking price. 

    Only 41.9% of prime London property sold at a discount in the last quarter of 2019. This is the lowest figure we’ve seen since we started researching the market in 2016.

    “The numbers for the last quarter of 2019 could be showing us a distinct change of mood in the luxury property market. It’s been subdued and filled with uncertainty for some time, but we’re now seeing the potential for brighter times ahead.”
    Katherine O’Shea, Coutts Real Estate Investment Service
  • Chapter 02

    local insights

    Central london bounces back

    Prices in traditional prime central locations such as Mayfair & St James’s, Knightsbridge & Belgravia, Kensington, Notting Hill & Holland Park, and Chelsea have all risen in 2019.

    Sales activity in these markets has increased significantly compared to a year ago. For example, prime property transactions in Knightsbridge & Belgravia are up 64% compared to a year ago. Knightsbridge and Belgravia also had the most super prime sales in Q4 – properties worth £10 million or more – closely followed by Mayfair & St James’s.

     

    North London sellers hold firm on prices

    The current trend towards fewer properties being sold at a discount is perhaps most keenly felt in North London.

    In Hampstead & Highgate, only 26.3% of properties are selling for less than the asking price, while in King’s Cross & Islington it’s 32.6%.

    And when buyers north of the river are getting a discount, it’s low compared to other areas, -6.1% on average in King’s Cross & Islington and -7.6% in Hampstead & Highgate, compared to -10.2% on average across prime London.

     

    New Instructions needed

    The number of new luxury properties put on the market in the last three months of 2019 fell in nearly all the areas covered by our research. The largest fall of -41.3% was seen in St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill, closely followed by Fulham & Earl’s Court with a drop of -37%.

    Comparing new instructions with the height of the market in Q2 2014, the results are even more extreme. All markets are down, and most neighbourhoods have seen new instructions fall by over 50%.

    Helping you buy your home

    Coutts can help you find your dream home anywhere in the UK.

    We can introduce you to professionals experienced in finding property to ensure you are aware of a host of suitable opportunities – both on and off the market.

    Our agents are skilled negotiators who aim to secure property on the best available terms and place you, whenever possible, in a ‘preferred purchaser’ position.

    Coutts also offers a range of flexible lending options tailored to your situation.

    To find out more, speak to your private banker or wealth manager, or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424.

    Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. 

    Over-18s only. Terms and conditions apply. You may not be eligible for all Coutts mortgage solutions. Security may be required.

  • Chapter 03

    Interactive Map & Postcode Selector Tool


    Use the map and postcode selector below to see how your area performed last quarter.

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