Monday 11 December 2017

Champagne back on ice for the luxury home market

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Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

If you were to pick the destination of choice for the rich looking to buy property, there is a good chance you would choose somewhere like New York, London, or Paris.

Chances are you wouldn't pick Toronto. Yet that is the destination with the best return for big money today.

According to a new report from high end estate agents Christies, Toronto was the only city to see an increase in the sales rate of luxury homes between 2013 and 2014.

The Canadian city recorded a 37pc increase in the sale of luxury apartment, penthouse, and house sales in the 12 months to the end of December.

That jump, which came after only a 4pc improvement between 2012 and 2013, put Toronto far ahead of Singapore, Sydney and Los Angeles.

Overall though, London remains on top. According to Christies' Real Estate Index, London led the world market with a rating of 75, just ahead of New York with 71 and Hong Kong with 70.

The report looks at the luxury property market from top to bottom, and makes clear that not all destinations of the jet-set are created equal.

Christies looked at what $5m(€4.5m) will get you around the world. Much like the gap between Dublin and the rest of Ireland, there is a huge gap between the likes of Hong Kong, and more spacious parts of the globe.

The report shows $5m in London will get you a two-bedroom flat in Kensington that is 1,319 sq ft - roughly the size of a large normal family home.

Compare that to Miami, where $5m will get you a custom built 6,475 sq ft home in the upmarket suburb of Coral Gables looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean.

If that isn't big enough though, you could go to Cartagena in Colombia. There, you would get a 12-bedroom, 16,522 sq ft mansion that dates from the 18th century and boasts renovated contemporary interiors.

With such differences between locations, Christies adjusted what it classed as "luxury" from destination to destination. For example a "luxury" home in Durban, South Africa, starts at $750,000. You would need more than 10 times that amount to buy a "luxury" home in LA.

The report also demonstrates clearly just how much the "How to Spend It" end of the market has recovered since the depth of the financial crisis, but also how much the market has slowed in the past year.

A home worth €1m took around 50 days to sell in Toronto in 2011, but by last year it was sold in only 31 days.

In Miami, a $1m home changed hands in about 172 days. That waiting period dipped to 125 days in 2013, but in 2014 it increased to 142 days.

Even so, the super-rich will be okay. The most expensive house in London last year cost $98m, or about 131 times the price of an average home in the city. In Hong Kong that ratio increases to 202 times for a $104m home.

Irish Independent

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