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By Mark Burns

Managing Director, Hopwood House


Global prime city property markets starting to slow down

It’s common knowledge that in the UK the London property market is stagnating and even the Prime Central London market is moving at the pace of a snail.

This slowdown is often blamed on Brexit. However, in order to be completely fair, it also has to be recognised that property markets in prime cities around the world are starting to slow down, too, and this cannot be blamed on Brexit.

Overall slowdown in global property prices


The prime global index from Knight Frank tracks residential prices in 46 cities around the world and its latest results show that average prices across all markets increased by just 1.4% in the year to June 2019.

While this was technically an improvement on the 1.3% in March 2019, it is still far lower than the four-year average of 3.8%.

Europe continues to lead the way

Out of the top 10 cities on the list, six are in Europe, including the two top performers Berlin and Frankfurt, which saw year-on-year growth of 12.7% and 12% respectively.

While both figures are very impressive, they conceal mixed fortunes. In March 2019, Berlin’s year-on-year growth was an even more impressive 14.1%, whereas Frankfurt’s was 9.6%.

It is noticeable, however, that for all this growth, both Berlin and Frankfurt remain fairly affordable in comparison with other European cities.

Average prices come in at €11,500 per square metre and €13,500 per square metre respectively.

Other European cities in the top 10 include: Geneva, Madrid, Paris and Zurich. An honourable mention must also go to Edinburgh, which slips down to number 11 and would have been number 10 if the list had recognised Zurich and Beijing as joint eighth (both cities registered 4.5% growth).

With 4.3% growth, Edinburgh was only slightly behind these two cities and even closer to ninth-placed Delhi, which saw 4.4% growth.

City-wide figures conceal neighbourhood variations

Even though cities are considered single areas for administrative purposes, in the real world they are made up of a collection of individual neighbourhoods, which can vary widely in performance.

This is essentially why Madrid and Paris both managed to claim ‘top 10’ places even though their prime central locations are showing underwhelming growth.

Outlying areas such as Chamberí in Madrid or the 18th arrondissement in Paris are, by contrast, trending firmly upwards, making up for the weaker performance of the city-centre districts.

London is the only European city to show price falls

Even though some European cities barely scraped into positive year-on-year growth (Milan, for example, only achieved 0.4% year-on-year growth, although this was still enough to claim 33rd place), only London saw a year-on-year fall and it was a fairly painful one of 4.9%.

There is, however, a slight glimmer of hope for the London property market, which is that its three-month decrease was only 0.7%. Therefore, the market is potentially on the point of bottoming out and at least stabilising.

*Mark Burns in the managing director of UK property investment firm Hopwood House. You can find more information on buy-to-let property investments here.


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