Indian buyers overtake Middle East purchasers in wealthiest parts of London

Indian buyers have become the second largest purchaser in prime central London, new research claims.

Property investor London Central Portfolio claims Indian buyers made up 22% of sales in the 12 months to this month.

This is up from just 5% two years ago, and the average purchase price from Indian buyers has also reached £1.7m, above the market average of £1.6m.

There are no actual figures provided for the number of buyers but Naomi Heaton, chief executive of LCP, says the boom is due to changes to the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in India, which increased the capital which buyers can bring into the UK to $250,000 per person.

The highest proportion of buyers were from the Far East, making up 36% of sales, up from 14% two years ago, while the share of Middle Eastern buyers halved to 21%.

Meanwhile, purchasers from Europe have dwindled from 24% to 7%.

Heaton said: “Despite two years of slower price growth due to tax headwinds and the UK’s Brexit vote, prime central London has remained attractive to international buyers as a safe haven asset class with the rule of law and proper title to property.

“As India has become a more challenging place to invest in with high loan interest rates and rising prices in the main urban centres, together with increasing global political and economic uncertainty, Indian buyers with a larger amount of capital to spend have increasingly turned to London as an investment destination of choice.

“As sterling has weakened against foreign currencies, representing a 20% discount for dollar denominated investors compared with two years ago, we are now seeing Indian buyers becoming an increasingly dominant force in the marketplace. They have overtaken buyers from the Middle East who have fallen to third place.

“In large part due to significant increases in taxation, sales volumes in prime Central London have fallen across the board, down 41% in the first quarter to just 3,406 sales annually compared with the previous year.

“The most reduced pool of buyers, however, have been those from Europe who have adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude as Brexit talks continue. As the group most impacted by the outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union, a bounce back amongst these investors will very much depend on the result of ongoing negotiations.”

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