Domestic buyers challenge international dominance in Westminster property market

The sun setting behind the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, central London.

The sun setting behind the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, central London. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

UK buyers accounted for almost half of sales in Westminster last year as they returned in growing numbers to the Prime Central London housing market, according to new research from Hamptons International.

Alongside Kensington and Chelsea borough, Westminster recorded 49% of property sales to domestic buyers in 2013 – a figure markedly higher than the 37% reported in 2011 and 43% in 2012.

The growth of domestic buyers is not just confined to Prime Central London and Hamptons International reports that across all its London offices, more than three in every four property sales (77%) are going to a UK buyer. This figure is up from 65% in 2012.

At a time when transactions in Prime Central London grew by 12 cent over the course of 2013, the research reveals international buyer figures stalled in 2013 with just European buyers showing a marginal increase on the previous year.

Johnny Morris, Head of Research at Hamptons International, said: “In recent years the Prime Central London has outperformed anywhere else in the UK.

“This was driven by an influx of foreign investment in search of safe investments after the global economic crisis.

“But as the global economy recovers and other asset and investment classes become less risky, Prime Central London is beginning to look fully priced, cooling interest from international buyers.

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“Coupled with the surge in domestic demand across the capital, the dominance of the international buyer in London is slowly but steadily being eroded.”