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London luxury homes market starts to climb on more realistic prices


LONDON'S moribund luxury homes market is showing signs of bottoming out.

Values in the best districts rose 1.2 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the fastest annual rate in almost three years, as buyers took advantage of price cuts after higher sales taxes dampened demand.

More homeowners are also looking to sell, and deals are rising as pricing becomes more realistic, researcher LonRes said in a report, citing a survey of agents.

An increase in stamp duty, higher taxes on landlords and second-home owners and a glut of new houses have combined to hurt the performance of the once red-hot luxury homes market in the British capital.

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A glance at internet listings services shows cuts to asking prices of more than 30 per cent for period houses in the centre of the city as the difference between sellers and buyers on values narrows.

"The prime central London market appears to have woken from its slumber," Marcus Dixon, head of research at LonRes, said in the report. "Agents still expect Brexit uncertainty to remain the most significant barrier to increasing sales activity over the next 12 months."

Since the prime central London market peaked four years ago, homes valued at £2 million (S$3.54 million) or more have declined 12 per cent, the researcher's data show.

Overall, values there are down 9.6 per cent. Prices were largely unchanged on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Unease among buyers over purchasing before Brexit takes effect will benefit landlords in the coming months, according to the researcher.

Rents in the best districts have risen 3.9 per cent in the past year to £1,120 a week, the data showed. BLOOMBERG

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