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London’s high-end buyers’ still ditching central spots for the leafy suburbs

Barnes, London, SW13
Barnes, London, SW13

The latest research by lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has revealed that homebuyer demand in prime central London has declined, as London’s top tier buyers continue to head for the leafy suburbs such as Barnes, Clapham and Chiswick.

Benham and Reeves analysed buyer demand across each area of the prime London market for properties listed at £2m and above.

The research shows that interest is highest across the south-west pocket of the prime market, with demand averaging 26.3% across these locations. At 19.9%, demand is also high in the north and north-west pockets of the prime market. However, in prime central and prime central-east London current demand is at just 9.6% and 5.4% respectively.

Barnes is home to the highest level of current high-end homebuyer demand at 37.9%, followed by Clapham (37.7%, Chiswick (35.2%), Richmond (27.1%), Wandsworth (24.7%), Putney (24.3%) and Wimbledon (24%).

Islington (22.6%) and Highgate (21.3%) also ranked high, while Maida Vale is the only traditionally prime central area to make the top 10.

The continued impact of the current pandemic on central London remains clear, as Canary Wharf is the least in-demand spot with high-end homebuyer demand at just 2.8%. Marylebone (3.8%), Mayfair (5.2%), Fitzrovia (5.5%) and Pimlico (6.8%) were also some of the coldest spots for current demand.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented “It’s not just the average London buyer that is looking to the Capital’s outer boroughs for a larger home and better availability of green space. This is a trend we’re seeing intensify at the very top end of the market.

The high-end London market is very much a case of quality over quantity and so we are never going to see the huge influx of activity seen across the regular market over the last few months. Certainly not for a few thousand pounds saved in stamp duty anyway.

However, it is unusual to see the cornerstones of the global prime property market such as Kensington, Knightsbridge and Chelsea play second fiddle to the traditionally less sought-after areas of Barnes and Clapham. This is undoubtedly due to the current pandemic as homebuyers at all price brackets anticipate a potential second lockdown and escape the city centre until this uncertainty lifts.

Areas such as Wimbledon are proving incredibly popular at present as they offer the best of both worlds in the current climate. Wimbledon itself is still within reach of central London but offers the larger homes and the abundance of green space that have become in demand. However, the area also carries a globally recognisable reputation in the prime market and many high-end buyers still value this when looking to buy.”

Note: Tables show the current level of homebuyer demand for properties priced at £2m and above across prime London locations. Buyer demand is based on the number of property listings in each area at this price threshold listed as already sold subject to contract or under offer as a percentage of all properties listed. So, if 100 homes are listed and 50 are already sold subject to contract or under offer, the area would have a demand score of 50%. Data sourced from Rightmove and Zoopla.

Overall average
Category Average demand
Prime SW London 26.30%
Prime N/NW London 19.86%
Prime C London 9.63%
Prime CE London 5.39%
£5m+ All Areas 15.8%
Area Prime category Demand
Barnes Prime SW London 37.9%
Clapham Prime SW London 37.7%
Chiswick Prime SW London 35.2%
Richmond Prime SW London 27.1%
Wandsworth Prime SW London 24.7%
Putney Prime SW London 24.3%
Wimbledon Prime SW London 24.0%
Islington Prime N London 22.6%
Highgate Prime NW London 21.3%
Maida Vale Prime C London 17.5%
Hampstead Garden Suburb Prime NW London 15.6%
Holland Park Prime C London 15.5%
Notting Hill Prime C London 14.3%
Fulham Prime SW London 13.0%
Battersea Prime SW London 12.8%
Knightsbridge Prime C London 11.3%
Kensington Prime C London 11.2%
Victoria Prime C London 9.3%
Chelsea Prime C London 9.3%
Regents Park Prime C London 8.4%
Belgravia Prime C London 8.4%
St John’s Wood Prime C London 8.4%
Wapping Prime CE London 8.0%
Pimlico Prime C London 6.8%
Fitzrovia Prime C London 5.5%
Mayfair Prime C London 5.2%
Marylebone Prime C London 3.8%
Canary Wharf Prime CE London 2.8%

About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.