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April prices of London luxury homes fall most since 2008


PRICES of homes in London's priciest districts in April fell the most since the 2008 global financial crisis as sellers agreed to wider discounts to secure deals.

Knight Frank's Prime Central London Index declined 2.1 per cent in the first full month of the United Kingdom's coronavirus lockdown, the most since January 2009.

A further 1.4 per cent decline in May means prices are now down just over 5 per cent in the past year, the broker's data showed.

"It feels remarkably similar to the period that followed the European Union referendum (in 2016)," said Tom Bill, the head of London residential research at Knight Frank.

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"There is a mix of opportunistic bids that are unlikely to be accepted, bids agreed at a reasonable discount and many cases where the asking price is right and the guide price is met or exceeded after competitive bidding."

The pandemic has derailed a nascent recovery in London's priciest postcodes, which showed tentative signs of growth after the UK's December 2019 general election.

Measures to prevent the spread of the virus hampered sales efforts while the economic turmoil has weighed on buyers' sentiment.

Still, there are signs the rate of decline may be slowing after the government eased some measures that allowed the housing market to effectively re-open on May 13.

The average discount to asking prices for sales in London is now 5.5 per cent, down from 6.4 per cent while the stricter measures were still in place, Knight Frank's data showed. BLOOMBERG

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