A measure of prime central London property prices has registered annual growth for the first time since the U.K. voted for Brexit in 2016.
Despite ticking up just 0.3% in May compared to the same time last year, the first annual gain in five years underlines how the “recovery of the property market in [prime central London] is not reliant on the reopening of international travel,” the estate agency and property consultant Knight Frank said its monthly index on Friday.
Overseas buyers have been in short supply since the coronavirus pandemic began restricting travel.
The gradual and ongoing relaxation of international travel rules will provide a boost for the prime central London property market—especially in locations popular with foreign buyers such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge—“but prices are on the up anyway,” Tom Bill, head of U.K. residential research at Knight Frank, said in the report.
“Things are picking up where they left off after the general election in December 2019 and buyers can recognize good value after five or six years of falling prices,” he added.
The election concluded with the re-election of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party, and the resulting political clarity—a factor that the country’s property market had been sorely missing—led to a surge of buyers returning to the market in what was dubbed the “Boris bounce.”
The upswing lasted only until the arrival of the pandemic in spring 2020, and property price inflation across prime central London had yet to realize year-over-year gains before the pandemic struck, according to the report.
Prices in prime outer London, though, rose 3.1% in the year to May, driven by demand for more space and access to the outdoors—something not as readily available in the center of the city.
Gains were most significant in leafy Wimbledon, home to the famed tennis tournament of the same name, where prices jumped 9.4% in the same time.