By contrast, the sales market in the capital remains subdued. Our analysis shows there were 14% fewer applicants looking to buy in Inner London in August 2019. This is despite the fact that it is one of the only areas in the country where stock levels are up – they were 19% higher last month than they were in August 2019. Part of the reason for this is that the share of international buyers, who have traditionally accounted for about half of property sales in Prime Central London, hit the lowest level in a decade in the first half of this year and is still hovering around this record low.
However, despite the subdued demand, the average home sold in Prime Central London in August achieved 99.3% of its asking price, higher than the 96.9% seen in August 2019. There were also 2% more offers accepted in Prime Central London last month than in August 2019, although this underperformed Great Britain as a whole, where on average 6% more offers were accepted last month compared to the same period two years ago.
Generally speaking, we believe that the tenants who are returning to London are younger people looking to live in a vibrant area and pay cheaper rents than before the pandemic. Also, those seeking a pied-à-terre in the city are probably more likely to rent than to buy so that they can test the waters and see what happens with working habits. Students are coming back too – including some international students – but, again, they’re more likely to rent than buy.