Mortgage-Free Buyers Boost Prime London Market

Prime London property demand is on the rise but mainly for those without the need for a mortgage, new data suggests.

Knight Frank’s latest prime London report for February 2023 showed the number of new prospective buyers registering during the first seven weeks of the year in London was 28% higher than the five-year average.

Meanwhile, the number of new sales instructions was 36% higher. However, activity is stronger in higher price brackets where there is less reliance on mortgage debt, the agent said. Around half of sales in prime Central London are in cash, according to Knight Frank.

The number of exchanges above £2m was 66% above the five-year average but below £2m, the increase was 12%, the research found.

Meanwhile, the number of new prospective buyers above £2m was 52% higher, while the rise was 20% in the sub-£2m bracket.

Average prices were flat on a quarterly basis in prime central London (PCL) in February, which compares to the decline of 0.6% recorded in the three months to December. 

Prices in prime outer London (POL) recorded a first monthly rise of 0.2% in February since September.

On an annual basis, average prices were essentially flat in February in PCL, rising by just 0.9%. 

While there was a decrease of 0.5% below £1m, there was a rise of 2.1% between £5m and £10m, reflecting the relatively stronger performance of the market in higher price brackets. 

There was an increase of 3% in POL, helped by a 1.8% rise below £1m compared to a rise of 4.4% above £5m.

Rory Penn, head of London sales at Knight Frank, said: “Nerves have settled, and the aftershock of the mini-Budget is dissipating.

“However, the true test of strength across all price points will be the spring market.”

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