Sales Market
Winter 2019

Brexit uncertainty overshadowed the London housing market in 2018. The 29th March deadline is just two months away and the stakes economically and politically remain high. While annual price growth across the UK remains positive, 2.8% in the year to November, prices across the capital fell by 0.7% over the same period (UKHPI). Across prime central London Knight Frank report that the annual price change in the year to December was -4.4%, data from LonRes indicating average achieved prices per square foot are 5.5% lower in 2018 compared to 2017. Price reductions remain commonplace, close to nine in every ten properties sold across prime central London in 2018 was reduced prior to sale, on average properties selling for a 12% discount on their initial asking price (LonRes).

Markets demand certainty, and clarity about the UK’s future relationship with Europe will reassure both potential buyers and vendors. At present needs-based decisions are dominating the prime London market, although there are signs of pent-up demand building. Knight Frank report that the number of prospective buyers per new listing has risen during the second half of 2018, with the number of new prospective buyers 8% higher in November 2018 than at the start of 2017. The level of new instructions has, however, fallen. LonRes data indicates there have been 31% fewer instructions across prime central London between July and the end of November compared to a year ago. This compares to a 15% increase in the first half of 2018. Although the housing market is watching and waiting there is little sign that London’s prestige on the global stage has been muted. The UK topped the league for the second year running as Forbes best country for business in 2018, thanks to the strength of its workforce, innovation and lack of red tape. London ranks number one across the globe for its business environment and lies, just two points behind New York (out of 1000) as the world’s leading financial centre (ZYen), its
influence expected to rise over the next 15 years.

It is also ranked in the top two in the world for students, its global influence and as the second most visited city in the world. The prestige, cultural diversity and educational attractiveness of London remain undiminished.