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London's super-prime housing slump spreads to luxury properties

A slump in super-prime home values in London is rippling down the luxury-property market.

[LONDON] A slump in super-prime home values in London is rippling down the luxury-property market.

Sales values per square foot for houses priced between £2 million (S$3.57 million) and £5 million fell by 8.4 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier as political uncertainly deterred potential buyers, according to data compiled by researcher Lonres. Selling prices for super-prime properties - those over £5 million - fell 3.2 per cent.

"The very top end fell first and hardest on higher stamp-duty charges and the Brexit vote," Marcus Dixon, head of research and data analysis, said in a telephone interview. "Now, with further political uncertainty, we are starting to see falls filter down into prime central London." Sales-tax increases and the UK's decision to leave the European Union roiled London's high-end luxury-property market last year. A bid by Prime Minister Theresa May to strengthen her hand in EU negotiations backfired last month and cost her a parliamentary majority following a snap election, adding to uncertainty facing buyers at the lower end of the luxury-homes market.

"There is a lack of urgency in the market which, combined with considerable buying costs, means many who would have transacted have stayed in their current properties instead," Mr Dixon said. While sales across the prime central London market are similar to 2016, they're down 40 percent from three years ago, he said.

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Savills Plc expects prime central London property values to stagnate this year and next before increasing by 8 per cent in 2019. Values fell 2.1 per cent in the first half and are down 14.4 per cent from their 2014 peak, according to the firm's estimates.