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Hong Kong, New York and London Top World Luxury Markets

Hong Kong topped the rankings for the second year in a row.

Hong Kong, where a manufacturer bought a lavish mansion last year for US$360 million (HK$2.8 billion), is the world’s most luxurious housing market, according to annual rankings by Christie’s International Real Estate released Wednesday.

The Chinese city-state claimed the title for the second year, as it houses several of the world’s priciest homes and has attracted considerable activity from mainland Chinese buyers, according to 2017-18 data gathered from 80 luxury housing markets worldwide. New York, in second place, overtook London, which was in a distant third place, said Dan Conn, chief executive of Christie’s International Real Estate.

“London is still dealing with a hangover from Brexit,” Mr. Conn said.

London aside, much of the global political and economic uncertainty that dampened high-end activity between 2016 into the beginning of 2017 has given way to robust sales in both primary home markets and vacation areas, according to the report.

Hong Kong offers a prime example: Homes continue to trade hands for record-breaking prices despite government efforts to cool the market with increased property taxes.

The most expensive home to sell in 2018 was a US$178 million (HK$1.4 billion) detached house on Hong Kong’s exclusive Mount Nicholson. The city is poised to set all-time sales records if a mansion on The Peak sells for its US$445.9 million (HK$3.5 billion) asking price—now the most expensive known listing in the world, according to the brokerage.

Meanwhile, the so-called affordable luxury market has carried New York City, the runner up in Christie’s rankings. The market for Manhattan’s priciest homes has softened as a result of too much inventory, but robust sales “particularly at the lower-end of the luxury market” bolstered the city’s position, according to the report.

Across 80 markets, total luxury sales rose 11% in 2017, compared to a meager 1% increase in 2016.

Second-home markets saw a dramatic turnaround from 2016. Santa Fe, New Mexico, topped Christie’s list of the hottest second-home markets.

The southwestern city, along with Sarasota, Florida, and Sun Valley, Idaho, have all seen a resurgence of demand for $1 million-plus properties not seen since before the 2008 market crash. Demand in those places has put a strain on supply and pushed prices up, Mr. Conn said in a presentation on the findings Wednesday morning.

Santa Fe has always been a strong cultural center that has traditionally drawn buyers from northern climates, Mr. Conn said. “It’s waited 10 years to become the darling of the market.”

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