London Luxury-Home Prices Gain as Foreigners Compete for Haven

Luxury-home prices in central London gained for a 14th consecutive month in December as overseas buyers sought safer investments and competed for a smaller number of properties for sale, Knight Frank LLP said.

Values of houses and apartments costing an average of 3.7 million pounds ($5.7 million) rose by an average of 0.8 percent from a month earlier, the London-based broker said in a report today. Prices are now 7 percent higher than their previous peak in March 2008.

“Demand for prime London property in 2011, despite uncertainty resulting from the euro-zone debt crisis and on- going global economic uncertainty, outpaced supply and led to strong price performance,” said Liam Bailey, head of residential research, in the report.

Euro-area leaders are besieged by a sovereign debt crisis that began with Greece in 2009 and has spread to Italy, risking a recession in Europe. The International Monetary Fund will probably cut its forecast for global economic growth as the European debt crisis worsens, Managing Director Christine Lagarde said last week.

Values gained 12.1 percent in the year through December, the smallest gain in three months. Prime central-London prices have risen around 40 percent since the market’s low in March 2009, Knight Frank said. U.K. home prices fell 0.9 percent in December to a 30-month low, according to a Jan. 6 report by Halifax, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc.