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London luxury home buyers now need a place to park their jets
BUYERS of luxury homes and mansions in and around London are demanding a new amenity in the age of Covid-19: proximity to private airports.
Super-rich clients are making more journeys in private jets now that the pandemic has curbed commercial air travel, according to luxury London real-estate agent Beauchamp Estates.
That includes foreign buyers who have been using private planes to fly to England and view properties since the virus struck.
"This change in jet travel has shone a spotlight on homes with easy access to smaller private airports," said Beauchamp managing director Jeremy Gee.
"Our clients are now asking us to find them large houses with access to places such as Farnborough and Northolt," he said, referring to airports in and near London.
London's luxury homes aren't enjoying the boom that's rallied the wider residential market, with travel restrictions one factor that's holding back buyers.
Prices have been under pressure for years, with central city values tumbling 4.3 per cent in 2020, according to broker Knight Frank.
One bright spot has been country mansions outside the capital, which saw their strongest price growth in more than six years as buyers shunned city living.
If an airport's nearby, that's a bonus. Windsor Park Hall, a mansion in the rural county of Surrey and near Farnborough Airport, was bought for £21.5 million (S$38.7 million) at the end of last year, according to Beauchamp, which brokered the deal.
The Russian billionaire buyer used a private jet to reach the 2,700 square-meter property.
But it might take more than an airstrip to revive the luxury homes market in 2021.
The British government has floated the idea of an increased capital gains levy to help pay for the economic burden of the pandemic, and that is on top of a tax increase for overseas buyers from April.
"The taxation here is really what's suppressing a big wall of money from coming back into London," said Marcus O'Brien, a sales negotiator at Beauchamp. BLOOMBERG