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Record low transaction volumes in Prime Central London in 2020

The Prime Central London (PCL) residential property market in 2020 experienced the lowest volume of annual sales transactions on record. Recently released sales data from HM Land Registry, analysed by London Central Portfolio, suggests that in PCL:

  • Only 2,936 transactions took place throughout 2020.
  • Less than 60 sales took place per week on average.
  • Annual transactions were 42% lower than the 10-year average.
  • Annual transactions were 75% below the peak of 11,660 in 1999.

Within PCL, which comprises the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there are approximately 213,000 homes. This implies that a property in PCL would only change hands on average once in every 73 years at current transaction levels. 

Andrew Weir, CEO at London Central Portfolio, commented: “PCL did not benefit from the price growth experienced by the broader UK housing market during the pandemic. The low transaction volumes demonstrate that real estate in this market is ‘tightly held’ and properties are not listed for sale during times of price suppression, which effectively creates a bottom line for property prices.

“Sellers have been reluctant to place their property on the open market due to a lack of international investors resulting in volumes falling beyond the previous low levels witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the GFC and the years following the EU referendum.”

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