Foreign Demand for Luxury Properties in London at an All Time High

Foreign Demand for Luxury Properties in London at an All Time High

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Homes in Belgravia, London

Research by leading London Estate Agent Knight Frank has revealed that the number of nationalities buying up prime property (£2 million+) in London has risen to 51, as buyers from far-flung destinations like Malaysia, Iran and Brazil join the traditional Russian and club-med buyers in taking advantage of the weak pound.

According to the data, Russian buyers were the dominant force in the market, accounting for 14% of all purchases by foreigners. American buyers were next with 11%, followed by Italians with 9%, and Indians with 8%. Knight Frank also said that the number of Greek buyers had doubled in the last year, which they put down to their desire to bring their money out of their debt-laden country.

Knight Frank’s head of residential research Liam Bailey said: Despite the fact that prices have risen 24 per cent since last March and stand only six per cent below their March 2008 market peak, the weakness of the pound ensures that effective discounts available to foreign buyers are still very significant.

Therein lies the key, prime property prices up 24% to just six percent below the March 2008 peak. This growth is undoubtedly largely because of the foreign buyers flooding the market on the weak pound, and it is this growth that distorted the picture of the UK housing market. This is being hailed as positive by Knight Frank; the question is what happens to the market when the foreigners stop buying?

The other interesting finding of the research was that the different nationalities have a tendency to buy in the same boroughs.

For instance, the Russians tend to buy in the traditionally fashionable areas of London; Belgravia, Mayfair and Knightsbridge, Nigerians have a preference for Bishop’s Avenue in Hampstead, while the Greek, Italian and French buyers — tend to favour Chelsea, Fulham, Hampstead.

Celine Pommier, of Knight Frank’s Chelsea office, said: The Greeks and Italians see Chelsea as a stable area with a long-standing international reputation.

Photo credits: Herry via Flickr