Wednesday 7 December 2016

Where in the world is the new billionaire luxury homes hotspot?

Isabelle Fraser

Published 14/05/2016 | 13:58

Auckland in New Zealand
Auckland in New Zealand

Chilly Auckland is officially the hottest place for luxury homes.

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New Zealand’s second city has grabbed the top spot in Christie's International Real Estate's Luxury Defined report due to a huge increase in sales of luxury homes, and how quickly they are being snapped up.

There was a 63pc rise in sales of homes worth more than $1m (£690m), with buyers lured to the region by a strong economy, as well as the lack of stamp duty, capital gains tax, or visa requirements

Millionaire buyers have snapped up waterfront properties with views over the city and the surrounding rugged countryside.

Other cities that saw a big rise in the sales of high-end homes include Toronto, which was pipped to first place, and where luxury houses remained on the market for just 28 days before being snapped up, Victoria, also in Canada, Jackson Hole, in Wyoming, and San Francisco, which was boosted by international buyers.

Valencia, in Spain, saw huge growth of 89pc in luxury home sales. However, this is a market in recovery, and it remains 40pc below its peak.

This burst of activity was due to a surge in those buying a ‘Golden Visa’, which gives them access to the European Union in exchange for investment.

An influx of affluent tech buyers boosted markets in Stockholm, Sweden, and Portland, USA – but a lack of luxury housing stock has held them back.

The report also found that currency fluctuations have led to a decrease in Russian and Chinese buyers in New York and London, but they have conversely boosted the luxury markets in areas such as Argentina, Canada, and in Cape Town, Dublin and Cartagena in Colombia.

Changing economic conditions around the world have boosted some established but struggling markets - in Paris, luxury sales increased by more than 20 per cent last year, the first significant rise in three years.

This was fuelled by Middle Eastern and American buyers who were attracted by a weaker euro, and by President François Hollande back-tracking on  strict taxes on wealth.

“The sales increase was due to the return of newly confident buyers attracted by prices at 2011 levels, down 20pc from their peak,” says Charles-Marie Jottras of Daniel Féau Conseil Immobilier.

London remains the top luxury home destination in the world, with more prime listings that any other city, although the prime market is rapidly cooling and has seen prices slashed.

High-end properties in London were on the market on average for 270 days in 2015, far longer than other top five cities, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore.

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