Life & Culture

The jewels in the property crown


Property shows, one would think, are the best place to meet potential housebuyers. But you are just as likely to encounter them at luxury-goods fairs. London-based estate agent Beauchamp Estates has been exhibiting at the Top Marques Show in Monaco, alongside watch companies, jewellers and supercars.

Perhaps this is a sign of increased competition in the luxury homes market. A new report by Christie's International Real Estate says the global luxury housing market lost some of its sheen in 2015, as financial markets became unsettled and wealthy buyers looked for less expensive homes. Sales in a sector where average home prices top €2 million (around £1.5 million) slowed in 2015. They still rose by eight per cent but that was half the pace of 2014.

Despite this, 2015's top prices were spectacular - 19 properties sold above US$50 million (£35 million) and two reportedly went for more than US$100 million (£70 million). The year's top reported residential sale worldwide was for HK$1.5 billion (£135 million) - a single-family residence in Hong Kong's exclusive The Peak area, purchased by a mainland Chinese investor.

Well-priced trophy homes still command strong prices in prized locations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Miami and Sydney. Monaco remains the most expensive location in the world, says Christie's, with prices per sq ft exceeding £3 million. Beauchamp Estates showcased property for sale in the South of France (including Château Soligny in Cannes, pictured), London, Italy, Mykonos, Herzliya, New York and London' s Buckingham Gate and Islington Square - and director Gary Hersham received an unexpected guest, HRH Prince Albert of Monaco, who "demonstrated a very clear understanding of prime real estate".

On more familiar territory, property consultant Barry Allsuch has sold many £2 million-plus properties in Radlett, Elstree and Borehamwood. He says: "If a property is worth on the cusp of £2 million, you might have to price it at £1.9 million, or present the property in the most sparkling condition. Once you get into the twos (£2 million-plus) buyers are concerned about stamp duty. People who can afford £3 million-plus don't seem to care so much.

"Overvaluing your property can seriously affect your wealth. Vendors are usually selling their main assets. Sometimes they are more than tempted to go for the agent who suggests the top price. Agents who do that, in six to eight weeks kill the property stone dead. Then the agent starts backtracking and you can end up selling your home for less than the lower price quoted."

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