The luxury housing market is now seeing the pace of price growth slip for the second time since the 2008/09 global financial crisis. In this latest cycle annual price growth peaked at 11.5% in Q2 2010 but has since slowed each quarter.
Post the Lehman collapse European and North American cities were largely responsible for the index’s slump. Since late 2010 it has been the Asian cities which have dampened price inflation. In Q2 2010 prices in Asia Pacific were rising at an average rate of 23.6% each year, the comparable figure now stands at -1%.
Anti-inflationary price cooling measures implemented by Asian governments, combined with worries that the euro zone sovereign debt crisis will affect the global economy, have created a more cautionary climate.
The slowdown in the luxury Asian markets has highlighted the extent to which the "old-world" cities of London, New York and Moscow are outperforming the overall index. London and Moscow have ranked highly for several quarters but Manhattan’s recovery is gathering momentum. Foreign demand for New York’s luxury homes is not only strengthening, but is also starting to diversify with Chinese nationals increasingly evident, particularly in the US $1-$3million sector.
Paddy Dring, head of Knight Frank’s International team said: "Despite cooling price growth in the second half of 2011, the world’s prime markets continue to outperform their mainstream housing markets, providing some justification for their safe-haven reputations. The flight of capital towards the world’s luxury neighbourhoods increased in 2011 as geo-political events in the Middle East and North Africa took hold and the tumultuous global economy weakened the viability of a number of alternative asset classes."
Price growth in 2012 will continue to be underpinned by this flight of capital from troubled world regions. This, combined with a desire among wealthy investors to target property and other real assets over financial products, will reaffirm prime property’s safe-haven qualities in 2012.
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