London’s £5mn+ Market Back In Business


Latest indices 'underscore the remarkable resilience' of the capital's top-end property market.

After a slow opening few months to the year, London’s £5mn+ property market is “back in business”, declares Savills, with transaction numbers perking up through Q2.

132 homes sold for more than £5mn in the three months to the end of June 2023, up from 108 in Q1.

The 240 £5mn+ sales recorded in the first half of the year is 21% below last year’s tally (H1 2022), but is on par with the same period in 2021 – and 45% above the H1 average of just 166 for the three pre-pandemic years (2017-19).

In the super-prime segment, there have been 65 sales above £10mn in London so far this year. This is marginally higher than in 2021 (63) and 17% above the 2017-2019 H1 average – but again, it is below the same period in 2022 when 91 transacted.

In value terms, over £2.4bn worth of £5mn+ properties transacted in the first half of this year, according to the Savills data. That’s a fair chunk less than the £3.1bn recorded at the same point last year.

Q2 also saw a shift in the mix of properties selling, reports Savills. Apartments continue to account for a growing share of sales as pandemic memories fade: 44% of £5mn+ transactions across London year to date, up from 40% last year and just 28% in 2021.

Despite the improvement in top-end buying activity in the last few months, the estate agency cautions that buyers “remain price sensitive and focused on best-in-class properties and addresses.”

Chelsea, Kensington and Belgravia have accounted for a third of all £5mn+ sales so far this year. But “new build schemes such as The Whiteley and Park Modern in Bayswater are undoubtedly redrawing the prime map of London.”

Frances McDonald, director, Savills residential research: “The first quarter marked a slowdown after an intense period of activity from mid-2021 as buyers refocused on city life.  These latest quarterly figures underscore the remarkable resilience that we have seen in our prime central London index, which fell a marginal -0.9% year on year.

“However, a backdrop of unsettling domestic and international economic indicators means that even the cash-driven very top end of the market is price sensitive, particularly given its discretionary nature. Momentum will only be maintained if buyers and sellers remain aligned in their expectations.

“To an extent this reflects the completion of a number of world class new build schemes, and buyers focused on turnkey properties, but it also marks a clear shift away from a time when larger homes with private outdoor space topped every buyer’s wish list.”

Ed Lewis, Savills head of London residential development: “Prime central London remains stock constrained, and this has certainly helped underpin the market at the very top end, as has the truly exceptional quality of some of the developments delivered over the past few years and those just coming to completion.

“But new supply will be squeezed by local government restrictions on the size of residences that can be built in the future, and it’s become clear that those buyers looking for the very best, in one of the world’s few truly international cities, may be frustrated by the lack of choice in future years.”

Alex Christian, co-head of Savills Private Office: “While there are a lot more buyers in the market than at the turn of the year, all are adopting a ‘belt and braces’ approach to every aspect of a purchase.  Selling in this market invariably requires pragmatic ‘open for business’ pricing.

“Because single unit developers have effectively been frozen out of the market by rising costs, stock of immaculate turnkey houses is especially constrained, meaning that the houses in schemes such as Chelsea Barracks represent a real once in a decade opportunity.”

Kensington has proved one of the most popular neighbourhoods amongst high-end buyers, in 2023.

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