London’s prime property world was whipped into a frenzy in Q1 with values growing 13.4 per cent in Kensington & Chelsea compared to 1.7 per cent nationally. But where did the demand originate?
According to Gary Hersham, owner of sales and search agent Beauchamp Estates, Singaporean buyers have benefited handsomely from the exchange rate making central London properties 10 per cent cheaper than five years ago and, further, strengthening of the euro has increased demand from continental buyers, particularly French and Italians.
"The domestic market has also been buoyed by relaxed lending boosted by the launch of the Funding for Lending Scheme in August,"Hersham says in his MarketInsight newsletter. ‘Mortgage approvals are rising and the Council of Mortgage Lenders forecast a further 10 per cent rise in lending in 2013."
Happy news no doubt, but cynics will say that the vertical may be approaching its limit. After all, mean reversion is one of the great truisms of finance and London has, over five years, moved in the opposite direction to the rest of the country, seeing price rises of 6 per cent against national falls of 11 per cent.
The capital’s fortunes depend therefore, says Mayfair’s number-one estate agent, Peter Wetherell, on continued good news on key exchange rates, Government encouragement for overseas investment and strengthening domestic demand. HNWs already invested in London prime will be keeping their fingers crossed, but with the market already well over its pre-crisis highs, the jury is still out.
This story first appeared on Spears magazine.