Offers for top end properties in central London reach highest level for 10 years

The number of offers made in the prime central London property market in the first three months of this year was the highest in more than 10 years, the latest index report shows.

The report from international real estate firm Knight Frank also shows that the number of new buyers was the highest figure for the first quarter of a year since 2014 and exchanges rose 6% between January and April compared with last year.

‘At the top-end of the market, price adjustments are having a recognisable effect on trading activity, where the number of deals in London above £20 million last year was the highest in four years,’ the report says.

While prices are still down by 4.9% year on year, they are down just 0.9% quarter on quarter and 0.1% month on month in the central London market, the data shows.

In the prime outer London market there is a similar pattern with prices down 4.5% on an annual basis, down 0.6% quarter on quarter and unchanged month on month.

The report suggests that buyers continue to position themselves for life after Brexit and non-Sterling buyers are effectively see a discount when they complete. It also says that buyers and sellers are typically more discretionary in higher price brackets, which has led to greater pricing resilience in recent months.

‘The greater impact of a weaker sterling in higher price brackets has also underpinned demand,’ the report points out, adding that the current downturn is comparatively shallow versus previous slowdowns.

For example, while individual markets will vary, an average decline of 12.9% in prime central London is lower than the fall of 22.3% during the global financial crisis and the 10.6% decline recorded during the UK recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It adds that the London economy continues to prove resilient despite the political backdrop of Brexit. In addition to record levels of employment and strong office take-up, the pipeline of companies looking for office space in central London has grown notably over the last 12 months.