Overseas investors add luxury homes to their London shopping lists

Written on 12 October 2015 by Alistair Boscawen in Property News


When wealthy overseas visitors splash out on luxury goods in London’s upmarket stores and boutiques, the chances of them buying property in areas such as Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Marylebone increases.

London bridgeNew research reveals strong links between where visitors from the Middle East, Asia and Africa are buying high-value handbags, shoes and jewellery and sales of luxury apartments in prime central London to overseas property investors.

According to consumer consultancy company Global Blue, the highest spenders on luxury retail goods in London who come from outside the UK hold passports issued in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China.

Its research shows spending on luxury goods in London stores by visitors from Saudi Arabia is up 28% since the start of 2015, with the average spend per transaction being £1495. Meanwhile, residential property sales in prime central London to Saudi purchasers is up 18% year-on-year. Estate agents in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Marylebone report that over 80% of all property purchases by buyers from Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in these prime central London districts.

Retail spending in London’s high-end shops by visitors from Qatar has also jumped 12% year-on-year, while residential property sales in London’s most desirable districts to buyers from the oil-rich Middle Eastern state is up 15%. Interestingly, the average cost of goods bought by Qatari residents is £1906, which appears tiny when compared with the £3-15m they have spent on each property purchase.

Estate agents in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Marylebone report that over 80% of all property purchases by buyers from Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in these prime central London districts.

London’s luxury stores and nearby homes do not just appeal to residents from the Middle East. Visitors from China spent 9% more on luxury retail goods in 2015, racking up an average spend of £1450 per transaction, while property sales to Chinese buyers are up 3%. However, Chinese buyers spend between £450,000 and £1.5m on a London home.

This is explained by the fact that Chinese property investors are looking beyond prime central London and are buying homes in the City of London, Canary Wharf and even Deptford.

On the other hand, residents of countries where retail sales in London have dropped over the past 12 months have also stopped buying luxury property in the UK.

Wealthy residents of Nigeria – who have earned a reputation for flying to London with empty suitcases and returning to Lagos with them jam-packed with designer goods – spent 12% less in the capital’s luxury boutiques in 2015 when compared with the previous 12 months, while their spending on London homes is down 15%.

Why is London property attractive to overseas investors?

Investors from the Middle East, Asia and Africa have long regarded London property as a safe investment. The UK’s stable political environment, much-admired legal system and London’s renowned schools and universities, together with its booming property market, make it a firm favourite with overseas investors.

Not only that, London is a truly global city that welcomes property investors from anywhere in the world.

If you are looking to purchase property in Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Pimlico, South Kensington, Mayfair or Westminster, contact Best Gapp for impartial advice about the market in prime central London. As a Belgravia estate agent, chartered surveyor and property valuer that has been offering an unrivalled service to clients since 1900, Best Gapp is committed to fulfilling the property dreams of vendors, buyers, tenants and landlords.

Image credit: David Wright .

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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