Prime property outperforms rest of housing market

While London is usually most associated with a Prime property market, all regions of the UK have now established Prime and Prime Platinum markets, relative to their average house price, with distinct characteristics.

The Prime and Prime Platinum property markets have continued to outperform the UK market as a whole, with annual rises of 9.5% and 12.5%, compared with a 0.6% fall in the market as a whole.

In November, however, asking prices of both categories of property dipped by 0.7%, Prime to £455,043 and Prime Platinum to £624,565 as the market began its traditional slowdown in the run-up to Christmas.

Primelocation.com’s traffic figures are up 16% year-on-year, indicating that buyer interest is still strong. This, combined with the fact that, historically, buyer interest is always higher in the early part of the year, suggests the market is gearing up for a busy start to 2010, which will impact on prices.

The more buoyant London markets have seen greater annual rises in both absolute and percentage terms. The Prime market rose 10.8% to £1,097,447 while Prime Platinum was up 14.0% at £1,640,602. The marginal price dips in London since last month (also 0.7%) can be attributed to an early pre-Christmas slowdown – with the Prime and Prime Platinum markets not affected by measures such as the stamp duty holiday.

However, the London market should also pick up in the New Year, especially as bonuses are making a return to the City and other sectors, consumer confidence is continuing to improve and overseas buyers are seeing the UK as an attractive place to buy property with the pound at current levels.

Other English regions with buoyant top-tier markets include Yorkshire (Prime +10.0%, Prime Platinum +10.9% annually) and the South East (Prime +6.2%, Prime Platinum +6.0%).

Andrew Smith, Head of Research at Primelocation.com, said: "Having outperformed the rest of the market during the downturn, Prime property prices across the country have experienced a marginal cooling recently. However, in London in particular, this is probably not likely to be the start of a long-term trend, especially given the overall shortage of high-end properties."

He added: "The Prime market enjoys great availability of equity and a continued influx of foreign buyers into the market, which has led to it being more robust than the rest of the property market. It is likely we will see more of the regional Prime markets following in London’s footsteps in 2010, especially as a more general economic stability returns and confidence continues to grow."

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