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Surge in London mansion sales as US buyers cash in on 30% currency discount

The £24.95 million residence in Cadogan Square (Beauchamp Estates)
The £24.95 million residence in Cadogan Square (Beauchamp Estates)

A surge of “mansion bargain hunting” by wealthy US buyers sent sales of London homes worth more than £15 million spiralling to their highest level since before the pandemic last year.

The strength of the dollar through much of the year and the sudden slump in the value of pound to an all-time low after the September mini-Budget drew buyers able to snap up trophy properties in the capital at an effective 30 per cent discount.

Deal data from analysts Lonres shows that there were 52 sales in this category in 2022, up nearly a third from the 40 in 2021 and more than treble the 17 completed in 2020.

The figures, compiled for agents Beauchamp Estates for its annual “Billionaire Buyers in London” survey, show that the top postcode for “ultra-prime” sales was SW1, which includes Knightsbridge and Belgravia, with 17 deals, followed by W1, which covers Mayfair, with 15 sales.

Other key addresses for £15 million plus purchases during 2022 included St John’s Wood (NW8) with seven deals — with Hamilton Terrace and Avenue Road being the area’s most sought after addresses - Kensington and Chelsea with four deals each, Hampstead and Notting Hill with two deals apiece, and Regents Park with one.

American buyers alone accounted for £620 million of sales, according to the report.

Gary Hersham, founding director of Beauchamp Estates said: “During 2022 the volume of £15 million plus deals in London’s ultra-prime housing market has risen by 30 per cent compared to 2021, the landscape dominated by American buyers undertaking cash purchases and capitalising on the strength of the US dollar against the pound sterling, which has given them an enormous price discount and paid for stamp duty and moving in fees.

“During 2022 there has effectively been one billionaire buyer property deal per week in central London with war, pandemic and the sluggish performance of alternative investment markets driving multi-millionaires and billionaires to return to investing in London residential real estate, which is a proven safe haven and stable asset class.”

On average a London house bought in the £15 million plus category will be 9,292 sq ft in size  and have seven bedrooms. Typically they will also boast a home cinema, health spa, swimming pool and garden.

Deals advised on Beauchamp Estates include a £45 million house in Notting Hill, a £19.75 million 6,504 sq ft house in Cadogan Gardens, sold on behalf of the billionaire Hariri family to another Lebanese billionaire; a £17 million townhouse on Old Queen Street sold on behalf of the Canadian billionaire Benisti family to a Eastern European billionaire; a Mayfair apartment where the initial asking price was £37.5 million, a £20.5 million house close to Eaton Square in Belgravia, a £24.95 million residence in Cadogan Square, and a £17 million apartment in Belgravia .

Marcus O’Brien, head of Beauchamp Estates’ Private Office said the trend was continuing into 2023.

He said: “This dollar buyer wave dominated the fourth quarter of 2022 and in the last few weeks Beauchamp Estates has done some £130 million worth of deals for London homes priced above £15 million, driven by dollar purchasers who view London real estate as a huge buying opportunity.”