Policy measures relating to taxation and lending conditions can significantly influence buyers worldwide, including luxury home buyers, says Christie's International Real Estate.
In a new survey, the property consultancy examined 10 cities and found that recent changes to capital gains taxes, wealth taxes, transfer taxes and secondary residence taxes, as well as mortgage restrictions, had created "notable catalysts" in the markets.
The markets surveyed for the report included Hong Kong, Paris, London, New York and Toronto. The property consultancy is the real estate arm of Christie's, the auction house.
Examples cited in the report included François Hollande riding into office as the French president on promises of high taxes for the rich - which had the effect of triggering an exodus of high net wealth individuals to other countries.
Fears of significant capital gains tax increases in the United States had the opposite effect at the end of last year, spurring many affluent sellers to complete large housing transactions by the year's end.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, the introduction of a buyer's stamp duty in October last year resulted in mainland buyers staying away from the market.
Despite the policy interventions, however, the survey found that top-tier properties achieved record prices globally last year with international buyers driving the sales.
In London a record-breaking price of US$121 million was fetched over the period October 2011 to September 2012, according to the survey, and top sales in many of the markets surveyed were made by buyers who were not local.