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Middle East investors remain a dynamic presence on the London property market

Claire Collier

Our presence in Dubai and the Middle East gives us the chance to come face-to-face with some of the most dynamic and enthusiastic investors to be found anywhere on the planet! Most of the present-day prosperity enjoyed by the Gulf states was built on sheer drive, ambition and desire for excellence. It’s this attitude that influences the way business is conducted here and how investment opportunities are explored.

Having worked in Dubai for the last sixteen years, I head up an excellent sales team and am familiar with what motivates investors and why clients from the Middle East and GCC are so integral to the wealth of the London property market. When asked as to why London is perennially targeted by Middle Eastern investors, I always point to a few fundamental reasons which follow here:

London is a key global city

Undeniably, London is one of the most important cities globally. With its culturally diverse population, the UK’s Capital is the second biggest financial and business centre in the world after New York, drawing some of the world’s best corporate talent and commercial organisations, as well as its historic heritage and world-class universities which are held in high esteem throughout the Gulf region.

A safe haven for overseas investors

The UK has a strong rule of law: often underestimated, but crucially important. Investors want to feel that no matter what economic and social challenges lie ahead, their assets will be protected by a fair and robust legal framework. As investors and landlords they will expect to be protected by government regulations and working with partner agents who have accreditation and a Trade Licence like Benham and Reeves do. This is not always a given in some countries, especially for foreigners, but the UK has fairly clear and straightforward property laws that apply to everyone. And, as Britain is continuing to ably withstand the material challenges and uncertainty of both the pandemic and Brexit, it has influenced investors, giving them confidence to invest.

The weak Pound continues to drive investment

Lastly, there is a methodical approach to fiscal policy that makes the Bank of England the envy of the world. Yes, Pounds Sterling is not quite the immovable standard that it once was, but it is still fairly steady and investors can rest easy that they won’t be caught out with spiralling costs due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates. Of course, the weaker the Pound, the more buying power for foreign investors.

Looking outside the Zone 1 bubble  

Our Dubai office is involved in introducing the best London properties for clients whose favoured areas for a second home tend to be prime locations such as Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Belgravia. And with so many clients wanting to widen their portfolio, we have also been steering them towards newer and more dynamic parts of London like Nine Elms and White City, both of which have benefited from extensive regeneration and investment. These emerging locations make good rental investments and with such a thriving rentals market in London and renting being a way of life for so many, property investors can enjoy long-term capital growth and a decent rental yield.

West End Gate New Build Scheme

Expatriates who are more familiar with the London property scene, are also seeking to bolster their retirement plans by building a portfolio back home in the UK. They look for property investments that provide long term growth and are comfortable exploring Tube fare zones 3-6 for locations which offer good value and have high tenant demand. These are often in areas of regentrification and their fast-improving transport links offer great capital growth potential. Some of our expats will also send their children back for higher education and will then use the properties as their UK base.

When travel is normal, our clients often prefer to spend the entire summer in London in order to avoid the more extreme Middle East temperatures and regular seven-hour flights make even a long weekend trip possible.

A satisfied client is your best advert

Having helped investors prosper in London property over the years, I am confident that London will emerge from its recent political and public health challenges in good shape. Demand continues to outstrip supply and the market will remain buoyant, robust and profitable throughout 2022. Investors in the Middle East are strong believers in family connections and will enthusiastically recommend anything or anyone that they consider favourable and it’s why many of our clients have been repeat buyers over the years.

Dickens Yard Ealing

Although I have enjoyed plenty of success in Dubai, I can look back with a wry smile at one investment opportunity I missed in London. I recall being told about a modern apartment development being built in Ealing, a West London suburb, back in 2012. The neighbourhood wasn’t on my radar at all as I thought it was too far from Zone 1. Well, fast forward a decade and the area has seen phenomenal growth with that same apartment appreciating by a whopping 40% and benefiting from constant waiting lists from prospective tenants.  And, the coming Crossrail route which will stop here is bound to make property even more valuable. I definitely wish that I had foreseen that investment opportunity at the time.

If you are looking to buy a property in London or have a property you would like to sell or let, please get in touch with our Middle East team we will be happy to assist you.

READ MORE: London property prices predicted to see 5% uplift in 2022, driven by the prime market


About the Author

Beginning her property career in the UK, Claire worked in residential sales and rentals in Central London before relocating to Dubai. Having been based in the Middle East for the past 15 years, Claire has over two decades of experience in international real estate which includes running a Dubai property brokerage, managing a portfolio of investors based in East Africa and working with a US based private equity real estate fund which raises capital from GCC based clients for hotel, office and retail assets across important primary and tertiary markets. - Read full profile