Luxury housing market in rude health

Written on 25 August 2015 by Alistair Boscawen in London


Hard evidence has come to light that the Conservative Party’s outright general election victory back in May has given the luxury housing market a much-needed shot in the arm 

luxury yacht london river thames
Cash is king when it comes to buying luxury property in London

Before voters went to the polls, fears over the outcome of the election – and in particular the threat of a mansion tax had the prediction of an SNP/Labour Party coalition government come true – put the frighteners on property purchasers and the market in central London went into hibernation.

But the Land Registry has revealed that a Scottish businessman concluded a deal worth nearly £8m for a Belgravia townhouse just days after Prime Minister David Cameron’s victory.

Bus tycoon Sir Brian Souter paid cash for the Grade II-listed property, which has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and four reception rooms.

It was originally on the market for £9m, but the boss of travel firm Stagecoach and SNP donor capitalised on the struggling London market by knocking £1.1m off the asking price.

The £7.9m purchase price is among the highest paid for a home in the UK, and landed the billionaire businessman with a stamp duty bill of £861,000.

Sir Brian isn’t the only investor from outside London to be buying property in Belgravia and its surrounding areas. There is growing evidence that the demographic of the most luxurious and exclusive boroughs in London is changing.

Mayfair, for example, has residents from more than 42 nationalities, with more than 60% of them now born overseas. While it has long been popular with buyers from the Middle East, European buyers from France, Italy, Germany and Russia can now be found in the neighbourhood, along with property owners who were born in Nigeria and India.

There are an estimated 3,000 wealthy Indian families with their own luxury properties in the Mayfair district.

Here at Best Gapp, we have also noticed that the age of cash buyers is also coming down. Sir Brian Souter may be 61, but an increasing number of overseas investors are in their 20s and 30s.

In fact, research shows almost 45% of Mayfair’s residents are aged between 25 and 44. Like Sir Brian, many are business owners keen to find a safe place to invest their wealth, while and commodity brokers, wealth managers and bankers can also be found in the area.

This is why competition for property in Belgravia and other parts of super-prime London will remain intense for the foreseeable future. Talk of a small increase in the Bank of England’s base rate next year does not affect this sector of the property market because few purchasers need to borrow the money they need to buy a home.

And while confidence in London remains at an all-time high, there will continue to be high demand for property in the most exclusive parts of the capital. If you need help maximising the sale price of your home in Belgravia or its surrounding areas or are looking to become part of this increasingly cosmopolitan neighbourhood, contact property valuation specialist Best Gapp today.

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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