Foreign buyers eye London property

Foreign buyers eye London property

The number of international buyers snapping up homes in prime central London has reached its highest level since the second half of 2012. 

Hamptons International’s buyer and seller survey found 57 per cent of homes bought in central London in the second half of 2018 were purchased by international buyers. 

Foreign buyers picked up a further 36 per cent of homes in Greater London, up from 31 per cent in the second half of 2017 and a 15 per cent rise when compared with the last six months of 2015. 

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Meanwhile, there was a notable 14 per cent increase in the number of homes in Greater London purchased by EU buyers, up from 10 per cent in pre-EU referendum 2015. 

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International said: "The proportion of homes bought by international buyers in London hit the highest level in six years.

"The increase was caused by a drop off in UK buyers and a 9 per cent year-on-year rise in EU buyers.

"Sterling’s weakness, making it cheaper for many international buyers, seems to be outweighing Brexit uncertainty when it comes to foreign buyers making a decision on where to buy a home.

"A property that would have cost an EU buyer £1m in H1 2016 effectively cost £124,000 less in H2 2018 due to sterling’s depreciation."

Over the past year, the proportion of homes bought by buyers from India rose 3 per cent, while interest from Russia and Hong Kong buyers increased 1 per cent. 

Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner at Informed Choice, said: "International buyers have long propped up values for the London prime property market.

"Property in many parts of central London have become too expensive for most UK citizens, making wealthy foreign buyers the main audience, especially for new developments which are often marketed to these individuals.

"It’s interesting to note that overseas appetite for London property doesn’t appear to have waned in light of a looming Brexit.

"Perhaps foreign buyers, including those from within the EU, are securing their UK foothold now, before the end of March."