International buyers are increasingly turning their attention to super-prime properties outside London, with 45% of all £5-million-plus (US$6.95 million) country homes in the U.K. being sold to foreign nationals in 2017, according to Knight Frank data released Tuesday.
The percentage of foreign buyers in this market was significantly up from the prior two years. In 2015 and 2016, foreign buyers accounted for 21% and 28%, respectively.
Buyers from the Asia Pacific made up 19% of super-prime country sales in 2017, up from the merely 5% in 2014. There was also a resurgence in Russian buyers, who had been relatively absent in the previous years but bought 14% of all super-prime country homes in the U.K. in 2017.
|£5m+ Country Home Buyers (% of all Super-Prime Sales|
|Russia and CIS||0%||2.6%||14.3%|
|Europe, Middle East, Africa||13.2%||12.8%||9.5%|
|Source: Knight Frank|
North Surrey, an area about a 45-minute drive from Central London, was the hottest hub for super-prime activity outside London, accounting for the largest percentage (40%) of super-prime country sales, according to Knight Frank.
Overall, the super-prime country market in 2017 performed better than expected, with the number of £5-million-plus sales increasing 7% year-over-year and raising the level back in line with longer-term trends, said Oliver Knight, research associate at Knight Frank.
“The underlying low interest rate and low mortgage rate environment is undoubtedly a contributory factor to this pick-up in activity, as is the current strength of overseas currencies relative to sterling,” Mr. Knight said.
Sales in London
In three separate reports, Knight Frank also analyzed luxury markets within London, including Queen’s Park, Hyde Park/Bayswater and Kensington.
As a general trend, higher-end properties led the central London housing market recovery from its slowdown, which was triggered by changes to stamp duty at the end of 2014.
While the overall number of residential transactions in Central London rose just 5% in the second half of 2017 compared to 2016, home sales valued between £5 million and £10 million (US$13.89 million) increased 14% over the same period, according to Knight Frank.
In the Central London neighborhood of Queen’s Park, the number of buyers registered with Knight Frank rose 52% in 2017 from 2016, while viewings of properties increased 81% year over year.
Hyde Park and Bayswater also saw an uptick in activity as sellers were more willing to negotiate with pricing, the report said. There were 10 sales above £5 million in this neighborhood in the second half of 2017, compared to six sales recorded during the same period in 2016.
Kensington’s market strength—which wasn’t quantified—was largely attributable to more high quality new developments hitting the market in 2017, according to Knight Frank.
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