Trophy home sales soar as London’s luxury property market restarts

Despite a shortage of supply, collapse of Russian-led deals, and global instability, the number of luxury homes in central London has returned back to pre-pandemic levels. The January sales volumes of multi-million-pound mansions was 33% higher than in the same month of 2019, and 31% higher than February 2019. This is as the luxury central London market starts to recover from the uncertainty of Brexit. LonRes’s new data shows that the average property price has risen by 5.9% to GBP1,700 per sq ft, despite a lack of supply and collapse of Russian-led deals. Anthony Payne, managing director at LonRes, says that there has been a lot of press about the shortage of stock in prime London. This means that prices will rise. A completely unfinished Hampstead penthouse with no flooring, ceilings, or plastering is on the market for GBP5.2m. Two stucco mansions in Regent’s Park are for sale ‘as shell’ for GBP80m terrace. This is a significant improvement over the 258 days in February 2020, when the country was locked down. However, it is still more than 70% higher than the peak of London’s luxury market in 2014. A Hampstead penthouse that is completely unfinished is on the market for GBP5.2m. Two Regent’s Park stucco mansions are for sale “as a shell” on a GBP80m terrace. “While stock is low and demand has returned, the market is very price sensitive,” Chris Sellwood from Rokstone Properties. He adds that if a property is too expensive, buyers won’t even view it online or go to visit it. “Sellers believe that the central London market is booming because it’s busy. But it’s not. It is just resuming after the pandemic. LonRes’s Payne said that the return of the overseas buyer could not halt sales but rather increase uncertainty due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. This could lead to wealthy international buyers returning to London, Payne of LonRes says. “The horrifying scenes from Ukraine show a human tragedy of untold pain and undercut the uncertainty of the future. It is too early to predict what the future might hold as the UK is exposed to the effects of war. However, past experience has shown that prime London has been a safe place to invest in times of uncertainty,” he said. A few high-end agents have reported that Russian buyers have been withdrawing from property deals since the UK Government imposed sanctions on oligarchs. “Anyone of Russian citizenship is reluctant to commit to buying a home because they are wary that blanket sanctions could affect them in some way,” Mark Pollack, Ashton Chase director, says. However, the overall impact of Russian-driven sales on the recovery is not significant. We are seeing a large number of US buyers returning to the US. American companies are the most successful in the world. There is a lot there and they see London to be a relatively cheap place to invest. Sellwood states that Hong Kong buyers are also back and concerned about the long-term transition of Hong Kong to Chinese rule.”