Harrods Estates were recently asked to comment on London's position within the world's most luxury real estate market, for Brazil's leading newspaper, O Globo. Here we have the full interview between our Director, Shirley Humphrey and O Globo editor Karine Tavares...
Karine: Is there a typical price for luxury properties in London, today?
Shirley: "There is a vast range of property prices in London from the suburbs through to the golden postcodes in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea and Kensington. For a family house in a good area of London you would expect to pay between £1million to £3million, or for a two-bedroom apartment between £500,000 and £1million. The closer to central London the more expensive they become!"
Karine: Where are the most exclusive properties in London? How do say Chelsea prices compare with One Hyde Park?
Shirley: "Traditional 'Golden Postcodes' include Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea and Kensington. At the top end would be something in One Hyde Park, where one bedroom apartments started at approximately £6million or £5,000 per sq ft. and went up to approximately £100 million for the Penthouses, which achieved circa £6,500 per sq ft. On average though, the super prime properties for three bedroom apartments range from £3 million upwards or houses tend to range from £6 million upwards, which is between £2,500 - £5,000 per sq ft."
Karine: What makes a property be considered as a luxury property in London? What characteristics would a luxury house or flat tend to offer?
Shirley: "As a minimum you could expect 24-hour hotel style concierge and security services, parking, leisure facilities – gym, spa, swimming pool, cinema and wine cellar. You’d also enjoy exceptionally high specifications, contributions from leading interior designers and landscape gardens."
Karine: This is a very specific market, isn't it, does it take longer to sell these kinds of properties? Or, what is the average?
Shirley: "It depends on the vendor and the purchaser, most properties are owned and bought through off shore companies and trusts, also money laundering regulations are very stringent. There is always a demand for prime central London and we have had properties exchange and complete in as little as 10 days or alternatively, if they are very complex they can take as long as 6 months!"
Karine: Recently, The Economist published a ranking with the countries where the house prices have risen most. Britain was at the 11th place (the prices rise 5,5% in 2013). Is it like this across the UK?
Shirley: "No. Again there are huge variations across the country, in prime central London prices increased between 7.5% - 12% in 2012-2013."
Karine: Who are the people that buy those properties in London? Where are they from and what do they look for? What do they want in a luxury property? Are they holiday homes, for business, or what attracts them?
Shirley: "The London market is being driven by overseas investment. Harrods Estates clients come from all over the world, but the majority come from the Middle East, Russia and CIS countries, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Europe and the UK. They look for a good investment, in a good location usually within walking distance of the Royal Parks and Harrods! Many properties are used several times a year when visiting London, others are rented out and some are bought for their children who are studying in London."
Read Karine's final article here (please note, it is written in Portuguese) - The Most Expensive Real Estate in the World - O Globo