Written by Takumi Yamazaki
As lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted with relaxation in travel rules between the UK and the Middle East, investors are eager to capitalise on London’s property market. Prime Central London locations such as Notting Hill (+4.6%), Bayswater (+3.3%) and Holland Park (+2.6%) – popular with Gulf-based investors, have been driving growth in the capital which has been fuelled by high demand for larger homes with gardens (Savills). As international travel is progressively being re-established, a more noticeable price increase within the market is anticipated.
One notable hotspot for Middle Easterners is Knightsbridge, famous for its luxurious residential property and exclusive retail channels. Regarded as a consumer’s paradise, Knightsbridge is renowned for the prosperous department stores of Harrods and Harvey Nichols, the big-name fashion designers located on Sloane Street. Knightsbridge is also the prime location for London’s best museums, with the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) all very close. The area is home to various outdoor open spaces, including Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Royal Hospital Chelsea, which is used annually for the Chelsea Flower Show.
For investors, the value of homes with six bedrooms plus has increased by an average of 6.2% in the last year. At the same time, 5-bedroom properties have increased by 5% (Arabian Business). Throughout the pandemic, investors from the Middle East with families searching for larger indoor spaces and outdoor areas due to lifestyle changes have been the driving force in the prime London property market. Middle Eastern buyers have accounted for 16% of all UK real estate purchases sold to overseas buyers in the first three months of this year, the highest proportion since the pandemic (Knight Frank).
Constant infrastructure improvements such as the opening of Nine Elms and Battersea Power stations on the Northern Line (tube) are just one of the many examples that excite overseas investors from the Middle East. Hence, the emphasis on the latest pattern of 12 multiple property purchases in the last six months from Middle Eastern family offices, compared with one in the 12 months before (The National News). London has always proven resilient regardless of all the vagueness that Brexit has brought, ultimately leading to a weakened pound. The attractiveness of the sterling-to-dollar-base currencies makes it a perfect proposition at the moment.
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