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Increasing demand from overseas buyers taking advantage of the weak pound

It’s no secret that the UK has seen its share of political upheaval over the last few weeks.  But as we see a new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, taking the reins at Ten Downing Street and bringing stability and confidence to the UK once again, many overseas investor clients have been reviewing their portfolios and asking us about new opportunities to invest in London residential property.  And increasingly, many now have very personal reasons for buying a new property in London, as well as being keen to take advantage of favourable economic factors such as the weak pound.

A successful visit to meet clients in South-East Asia

Our Directors have just returned from an extensive overseas trip, visiting clients and investors in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It was their first overseas trip since the pandemic hit and it was great to return to a part of the world where we have so many clients, many of whom we’ve worked with for years. We carried out numerous one-to-one meetings throughout our trip and it was exciting to meet old friends and newer clients, all of whom were keen to hear our analysis of how the London property market is performing.

At each location our Directors visited, we held events that were extremely well attended; clearly, the enthusiasm to buy London property is undiminished. In Singapore, we were totally over-subscribed so our local office will be following up with those who missed the opportunity to meet us. It was also helpful for us to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind why investing in London property is still popular. And a key point that emerged from many of our discussions is that buying a property for student children is a driving force amongst overseas buyers right now.

Education driving London property demand from overseas investors

London is one of the most important education hubs in the world so for many overseas investors, a key objective in buying a property here is as a home for children who are planning to study here and subsequently begin their careers and make London their permanent home. But extraordinary rental demand and chronic shortages of rental properties, make finding a good rental property in the city extremely difficult.  In fact, some students are living in short-let accommodation or even hotels, for two or three months, until they find a property.  And clearly this isn’t a cheap option. So many families who had been planning to rent a London property for their student children, are now planning to buy a flat in London instead, concerned that renting a flat is so difficult – and expensive.

Increasingly, buying a property makes more financial sense and they are planning now for those university years in London.

Buyers focusing on areas close to Elizabeth Line stations

Of course, where to buy depends very much on budget.  Ideally overseas buyers wish to purchase a property that is close to their child’s chosen university but if they don’t yet know where this will be, a location close to good a good Tube fare zone is essential.

And that’s where Crossrail’s the Elizabeth Line, named after her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is radically changing parts of London’s commuter belt.  The new line has slashed commuter times into the centre of London, and transformed residential areas across the city, bringing them into sharper focus for both investors and homeowners. These areas, that are undergoing dramatic regeneration, are prime targets for buyers now, as wherever their children study, buyers know that transport links will be good.  And with investment in these areas ongoing, these locations still offer the potential for long-term capital growth.

Investor hotspots created by the Elizabeth Line

Investment market bouyantFrom Hayes, Southall and Slough to the west of London to Woolwich, Stratfordand Whitechapel in east London, new residential areas are opening up, with smart new residential developments, shopping, entertainment venues and other amenities.

So developments such as Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich, Stratford Plaza and London Dock in east London, The Green Quarter in Southall, Hayes Village and of course, Dickens Yard and Filmworks schemes in Ealing, are all areas of current interest for these buyers.  New stocks are now limited in some of these developments but our team of London estate agents has excellent contacts and we regularly receive new instructions.

For more information about how the Elizabeth Line is transforming commuter times, read our blog:

https://www.benhams.com/news/london-property-market/the-elizabeth-line-a-21st-century-growth-model/

The continuing weakness of sterling offers excellent opportunities for overseas buyers

While the pound remains at all-time lows, overseas buyers are enjoying a substantial discount on property purchases compared to a year or so ago, with sterling around 20% cheaper now.  Experienced overseas investors recognise the value this brings and this, coupled with increasing confidence, means many are now keen to take advantage of the current exchange rate and expand their portfolios.

Contact us to find out more about buying a London property

If you’re planning to buy a London property soon, we have many excellent opportunities across London – in brand new developments. Contact our sales team to find out more about new properties and resale properties that are coming on to the market soon.

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About the Author

Philip has been working within the property industry for 15 plus years with experience gained across several different divisions of property sales. In his role as Manager of New Homes and Residential Development, Philip specialises in driving business for off-plan sales and new homes to achieve the investment goals of many domestic and international clients. - Read full profile

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