A New Price High For Central London - But Even Higher Elsewhere

It comes as no surprise to hear that the top-end of the property market around the world is doing very nicely, thank you. Now, for the first time, there are some figures to show just how extraordinarily well this tiny but uber-lucrative sector is performing.

Christie’s - and yes, it is the auction house that owns this property business - is a loose affiliation of 129 estate agencies in 42 countries and constituting 1,095 offices. Over 90% of the properties these agents sell are valued at $1m or above.

A sample of its agents gave me an insight into their biggest sales of the past year, with rough figures broken down on a per square foot basis to make comparisons easier:

Hong Kong, China: £8,230 per square foot

Paris, France: £4,470 psf (in what was described as a one-off unrepresentative sale)

Marbella, Spain: £965 psf

St Moritz, Switzerland: £3,500 psf

Beverly Hills, US: £2,215 psf (and this was the sale of Jenifer Aniston’s home)

London, UK: £6,500-plus psf

Rio, Brazil: £875 psf

Cape Town, SA: £615 psf

New York, US: £6,300 psf.

There are three things to note from this data.

Firstly, Christie’s is dropping a very clear hint that “a very identifiable new development in prime central London” (which is definitely and beyond doubt the six-apartment Bulgari Residences in Knightsbridge - details here) has secured an off-plan sale that is of a higher price per square foot than the much-vaunted One Hyde Park. Quite a coup for the agency.

Secondly, even with that new figure, Hong Kong’s wildest excesses handsomely beat London on a £/psf basis, and New York can run it close. London is not the soaraway most expensive market in the world that some journalists and developers suggest.

Thirdly, Marbella is now lagging close to the prices of emerging top-end markets like Cape Town and Rio de Janiero. But whereas those two are on the way up, Christie’s admits that Marbella’s market - even at the very top end - is at least 25% down on peak. The pain in Spain now stretches even to the wealthiest property owners.

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