Weak Sterling and rocky global markets drive foreign interest in London in 2016
Sterling’s fall in value since the start of 2016 has made investing in the UK more attractive to wealthy foreigners, according to property firms in London, who report notable interest from dollar-based investors in the Middle East.
The safe haven status of prime London property has been intensified by turbulence on global stock markets and the depressed oil price. As a result, there is little sign of London's perennial attraction fading among international high-net worth investors (HNWI), with Saudi Arabians particularly active right now, as they take measures to move their assets into more stable investments. Savills recently found that London and Dubai remain top of the list for HNWI real estate investment, with both cities expected to be “net buys” in 2016.
“Although we continue to see a drop off in 'trophy home' (over £10million) buyers, particularly from countries like Nigeria and Malaysia, who are affected by the drop in oil price, we are busy with clients with budgets of £500,000 - £2million,” said a leading property-buying agency. “We are also busy with clients looking to invest in commercial property, rather than residential, during the current difficult market.”
Meanwhile, prime property in North Surrey is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition to high net worth buyers from overseas. The so-called platinum triangle around Epsom, Esher and Cobham has become a hot spot particularly for buyers from America, China, Russia and South Africa, reports one developer selling brand new high spec homes there. A large part of the appeal of the location is its proximity to London for buyers who want to be able to commute quickly, while enjoying the lifestyle benefits and space of a more rural life. Education is also a key factor for overseas families and the excellent international schools in Surrey are a major draw.