UAE buyers rank in top four for super-prime property in central London in 2023

About 60 per cent of properties worth more than £15m were bought by people from only four countries

One Hyde Park, a super-prime residential and retail complex in Knightsbridge, central London. Getty Images
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UAE buyers featured in the top bracket of those purchasing prime central London property last year, according to latest research that showed the market topped £1 billion in 2023.

A report from super-prime property agent Beauchamp Estates found there were 54 sales of homes each worth more than £15 million ($18.9 million), amounting to £1.3 billion, sold in central London in the period.

About 60 per cent of them were bought by people from the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China, who together purchased about £780 million worth of luxury property in the UK capital.

“Buoyant oil and gas prices and booming domestic property markets have generated huge cash reserves in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai and [those living there] have chosen to invest a significant chunk of these revenues in London super-prime residential property,” said Gary Hersham, founding director of Beauchamp Estates.

“The Middle East and American buyers have made their purchases in London’s so-called ‘platinum triangle’ – Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge – which is why these three addresses have been where the most £15 million-plus deals have taken place in 2023.”

The super-prime sales included a Mayfair penthouse, which was bought by a businessman from Abu Dhabi in a deal worth £30.45 million. The anonymous buyer purchased three properties, including a 5,818 sq ft duplex penthouse with roof garden, in Greybrook House, a Grade II listed Art Deco-style building in Brook Street to use as a London base.

It was one of 19 apartments sold worth more than £15 million last year in areas including Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Whitehall, totalling almost £385 million, up from only eight sales worth £181 million in 2022. They averaged 4,894 sq ft in size, costing an average of £4,306 per sq ft.

The rise in sales of super-prime apartments was fuelled by concerns about personal security and privacy and a desire for five-star hotel style amenities, Beauchamp said.

Sales of houses and mansions priced at more than £15 million made up the majority of properties sold in the price bracket. The figure was down almost 15 per cent in 2023, with 35 sold in the period, compared to 41 in 2022. But the value and size were bigger, worth almost £925 million, compared to £876 million of sales the previous year. They were on average 8,826 sq ft in size, almost 480 sq ft larger than the equivalent 2022 figure, due to a rise in homes bought for personal use.

Belgravia was the most popular area for super-prime sales in central London, accounting for a quarter of all deals valued at more than £15 million. Other sought-after locations were Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Kensington, Chelsea, Hyde Park and Whitehall, as well as Hampstead, Notting Hill, St John’s Wood, Chelsea, Regent’s Park and Richmond.

About 70 per cent of deals worth £15 million or more in 2023 were made using cash, up from 60 per cent in 2021, due to rising interest rates and a squeeze in bank lending.

Buyers paid on average 5.6 per cent less than the asking price and the busiest periods of sales in both 2022 and 2023 was March to April and October to December, respectively.

The UK's 10 most expensive streets - in pictures

Recent research by Halifax found Grosvenor Square in London's Mayfair is the UK's most expensive street.

The UK’s 10 most expensive streets are all in the capital, with an average price tag of more than £14.5 million, the bank said.

Close competitors to Grosvenor Square in terms of price include Clarendon Road in Notting Hill and Knightsbridge Road.

Both areas have average property prices around the £20 million mark.

Homes in the priciest streets are about 72 times more expensive than the average UK home, which stands at £283,615.

Updated: January 02, 2024, 3:27 PM