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Global super-prime property outperforming expectations

Global super-prime property markets have performed strongly in recent months, despite the challenges of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Knight Frank research shows that 153 residential transactions above $10 million have taken place since March 2020 when the pandemic took hold. The total value of these transactions across various global markets exceeded $3 billion.

Despite the positives, transaction levels are down compared to last year. There were 594 super-prime transactions above $10 million between January and June 2019, dropping to 281 this year.


The top-performing market between March and June 2020 with 41 transactions was Hong Kong, down from 111 in 2019. This was followed by Los Angeles with 35 transactions, down from 58 the previous year.

Other strong performers in Q2 2020 were New York (19), London (16) and Palm Beach and Broward (10), down from 100, 56 and 24 transactions respectively over the same period last year.

The same markets performed well on a half-yearly basis, alongside Singapore which registered 27 transactions in the first half of 2020, down from 29 a year previously.

“Whilst the number of transactions were down in 11 of the 12 markets analysed, two markets saw sales volumes increase and over half saw the average value of transactions increase," explains Flora Harley from Knight Frank's global residential research team.

"Sydney was the standout market with 15 super-prime sales in the first half of 2020 compared to 13 in the first half of 2019, however looking at the period between March and June period there were only six compared to 12 in the same period last year."

Overall, four markets were within seven of their March to June 2019 levels of transactions. Melbourne was only one below, while Sydney and Geneva were both six below and Dubai was seven below, with a total of six sales.

Compared to transaction volumes which dipped in during Q2, average sales values were generally higher, according to Knight Frank.

The global average transaction value increased by 15% between March and June, reaching $20.7 million. In the same period last year, the figure was recorded at $18 million.

The largest increase in average transaction volume was recorded in London, rising to $38 million in Q2 2020 from $16.9 million in 2019. The top three was made up by Geneva and Hong Kong.

"The impact of Covid-19 has been felt across all our international markets with most coming to all but a complete standstill for a number of months as various lockdown measures were put in place globally," says Paddy Dring, Knight Frank's head of global prime sales.

"Despite this, there has been some very positive activity in the super-prime market with significant sales forging ahead. Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and London all witnessed a healthy number of sales despite the conditions."

Looking at the ultra-prime market (transactions above $25 million), the number of deals dipped in three markets in Q2 2020 compared to the previous year.

Transactions stayed the same in London and Geneva, while growing marginally in Palm Beach and Broward and Sydney. Overall, some $1.3 billion was transacted in the ultra-prime market between March and June.

The highest number of sales in this bracket was recorded in Hong Kong at eight, down from 20 in 2019. The top performer when it comes to total volume of sales was London at $434 million, followed by Hong Kong ($372 million) in second place.

Knight Frank says that momentum in the ultra-prime market could continue to grow as ultra-high-net-worth investors look for more spacious properties post-lockdown. It says this trend has already been evident in LA, where half of ultra-prime sales in 2020 so far have taken place since the beginning of April.


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