Saturday, September 6, 2008

Top-Tier London Homes Still Hot; Wider Market Cools

Source : The Business Times, September 6, 2008

(London)-LONDON'S housing market may be cooling, but not when it comes to 10-bedroom mansions with designer interiors, indoor swimming pools and private gardens in the capital's most sought-after neighbourhoods.

Demand for these homes - known as the 'super-prime' or even 'uber-prime' slice of the market and typically priced upwards of £20 million (S$50.7 million) - is still far ahead of supply. And, fuelled by oil and commodity prices, which are adding to the wealth of emerging market millionaires, the appetite is showing no sign of slowing under the weight of the credit crunch that is crippling average homeowners, lenders and businesses.

Eliza Leigh, a partner at estate agent Knight Frank, said that the company in early July launched a flat for Grosvenor, the firm which manages the Duke of Westminster's property estate.

'In the first 48 hours, we generated 18 viewings for a property with a £25 million guide price,' she said. 'We achieved that by close of business on Tuesday, having launched at 9am on Monday, and that purchaser exchanged contracts by Friday.'

Analysts expect UK house prices to tumble at least 20 per cent from their peak as a decade-long boom turns to bust. The majority of agents say that business has ground to a halt and even the so-called 'prime' market - roughly, homes between around £pounds;1 million and £pounds;10 million - has slowed as once spendthrift bankers and executives draw back.

But 'super-prime' is blossoming, helped by London's enduring popularity and - critically - by a lack of properties at the very top end. There are few coveted addresses and even fewer families moving out. Reuters

No comments: