London, UK (PRWEB UK) 6 June 2012
Prime central London property prices rise 0.7% in May 2012, contributing to annual growth of 10.7%, property prices have risen 47.3% since their post-credit-crunch low in March 2009, prices are now at a record high, 12.1% higher than their previous peak in March 2008. Prices in the sub-£2m and the £2m+ bracket rose 2.7% and 1.6% respectively in the two months to the end of May (following the imposition of the new 7% £2m+ stamp duty rate)
Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s Head of Residential Research, comments: “Prime central London residential prices are nearly 50% above their post-Lehman low, reached in March 2009, and are now more than 12% higher than their March 2008 peak.
“Last October we forecast that 2012 would see an additional 5% growth in prices. Just five months into the year, we have already seen 4.7%. Unsurprisingly the key question from clients is whether we are overdue an upgrade to our forecast?
“Among all the issues impacting the market, two are of critical importance: the new stamp duty rate of 7% for £2m+ properties, and the associated uncertainty surrounding company purchases and the Eurozone crisis.
“The early evidence is that the market has absorbed the 7% stamp duty rate fairly well. Price growth in the two months since the Budget change has been slower in the £2m+ sector than the sub-£2m bracket, 1.6% as opposed to 2.7%, but it has remained positive.
“Sales volumes and new applicants in the £2m+ sector were broadly flat in April and May, down 1% and 2% respectively on the same period in 2011.
“Looking at the second issue, while our forecast was based on an assumption that the Eurozone would remain unified, we did assume that growing tensions would continue to drive flight capital into the London market, especially from the Eurozone periphery, and this is precisely what has happened.
“While it looks very much that the surge in Greek buyers has fallen off sharply since the beginning of the year - those who had the funds to buy have done so - we are now seeing a noticeable uptick in interest from France, Italy, Spain and even German-based purchasers looking at the prime London market.
“If the crisis in the Eurozone leads to a break-up, will this flow of funds continue to London? The final form of a break-up will dictate that. Any country which seems at imminent risk of ejection is likely to see a massive outflow of capital, some of which will end up in bricks and mortar in London. But if we are left with a small core around Germany, the value of that smaller bloc’s currency is likely to surge against Sterling, reducing demand from those countries.
“The knock-on economic impact on the UK, and the global economy, means London would be caught between weaker economic conditions and a desire from investors for safe assets. Though there is scope for further growth, for the moment we are leaving our 5% growth forecast of the whole of 2012 untouched.”
Rupert des Forges, Partner, Knight Frank Knightsbridge comments: “Recent weeks have seen an even greater influx of European buyers looking to purchase property in the Prime London market – a ‘safe haven’ market. Europeans are focusing on securing Prime Central London residential assets as a method of defensive wealth preservation."
"We have several recently sold examples including two substantial flats in a premier Knightsbridge block with asking prices in excess of £15,000,000. The purchaser’s objective was to secure them and use them as long term rental. Other examples include sales where existing European owners have upgraded from pied à terres to family homes. We have also seen a sharp rise in interest from French investors looking to move quickly before Hollande’s newly proposed wealth tax.”
(Data tables/graphs on following pages in attached PDF or Prime Central London Index webpage.)
For further information, please contact:
Liam Bailey, head of Residential Research, Knight Frank, +44 (0)7919 303 148, liam.bailey(at)knightfrank(dot)com
Daisy Ziegler, London PR manager, Knight Frank, +44 (0)20 7861 1031, daisy.ziegler(at)knightfrank(dot)com
Notes to Editors
© Knight Frank LLP 2012 - This report is published for general information only. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information, analysis, views and projections presented in this report, no legal responsibility can be accepted by Knight Frank Residential Research or Knight Frank LLP for any loss or damage resultant from the contents of this document. As a general report, this material does not necessarily represent the view of Knight Frank LLP in relation to particular properties or projects. Reproduction of this report in whole or in part is allowed with proper reference to Knight Frank Residential Research. Knight Frank LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England with registered number OC305934. Registered office: 55 Baker Street, London, W1U 8A.
The Knight Frank Prime Central London Index, established in 1976, is the longest running and most comprehensive index covering the prime central London residential marketplace. The index is based on a repeat valuation methodology that tracks capital values of prime central London residential property. 'Prime central London' is defined in the index as covering: Belgravia, Chelsea, Hyde Park, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Mayfair, Notting Hill, Hyde Park, Riverside*, The City and Fringe and St John’s Wood. 'Prime London' comprises all areas in prime central London, and in addition Canary Wharf, Fulham, Hampstead, Richmond, Wandsworth, Wapping and Wimbledon. * Riverside covers the Thames riverfront from Battersea Bridge in the west running east to encompass London’s South Bank.
Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank and its New York-based global partner, Newmark Knight Frank, operate from 242 offices, in 43 countries, across six continents. More than 7,067 professionals handle in excess of US$817 billion (£498 billion) worth of commercial, agricultural and residential real estate annually, advising clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants. For further information about the Company, please visit http://www.knightfrank.com.