Brexit and weak pound helped London leapfrog Hong Kong and New York in 2020

International property consultant Knight Franks’ Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research, is reporting this week that the world’s ultra-wealthy spent almost $4 billion on super-prime properties ($10m+) in London last year, more than any other city.Liam Bailey

Moves towards closure on Brexit and the weak pound helped the capital leapfrog Hong Kong and New York in the rankings. The UK capital saw transactions rise by 3%, while Hong Kong and New York saw theirs fall by 27% and 48% respectively, says Bailey.

The US real estate market is typically slow leading up to a presidential election year and real estate showings were prohibited between March and July. Waterfront property markets in the US, on the other hand, stood out. Sales in Miami more than doubled to 87. Transactions in Palm Beach and Los Angeles also climbed from 50 to 89, and 123 to 155, respectively.

Globally, the number of super prime sales fell just 1% in 2020. Volumes, or total spend, dipped 5%. As Flora Harley notes in her analysis, super-prime markets are often dominated by international buyers, so a largely flat market for the year demonstrates the scope to which the pandemic has caused domestic buyers to reassess their needs, often seeking out larger properties or homes closer to open spaces, concludes Bailey.

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