Lon­don is now the new post­code for high net worth in­di­vid­u­als from In­dia

Over 3,000 fam­i­lies have bought res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties in Lon­don

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Nam­rata Kohli

There’s been much spec­u­la­tion over the prop­er­ties owned by be­lea­guered busi­ness­man Vi­jay Mallya, in the eye of a storm for fail­ing to hon­our loans worth ₹ 9,000 crore from In­dian banks.Var­i­ous news re­ports say he has moved from his Baker Street home in Lon­don to his coun­try home in Hert­ford­shire. For many In­di­ans, the need to set roots in that coun­try does not come as a suprise.

The rea­son why HNWIs from In­dia re­main fo­cussed on the UK is be­cause of Lon­don’s rep­u­ta­tion as a safe and sta­ble place for in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially in the cur­rent volatile world econ­omy. Its real es­tate has also been do­ing very well over the past few years due to in­crease in global in­vest­ments re­sult­ing in an ev­er­in­creas­ing de­mand for space.

Wealthy In­dian fam­i­lies and busi­nesses are one of the largest over­seas prop­erty buy­ers in prime cen­tral Lon­don ar­eas such as May­fair and Bel­gravia. It is es­ti­mated they have splashed al­most £1bil­lion on lux­ury homes and build­ings in such ex­clu­sive ar­eas in re­cent years. Over 3,000 In­dian fam­i­lies own­ing prop­erty in fa­mous Lon­don dis­tricts have in­vested in both lux­ury res­i­den­tial and prime com­mer­cial es­tates, es­pe­cially May­fair, which is the cul­tural and lux­ury hub of Lon­don. Other lo­ca­tions in­clude St James, Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea.

Lon­don based art cu­ra­tor Sha­ran Seth en­sures that most of his meet­ings, events, art and lux­ury ac­tiv­i­ties, auc­tions are held in and around May­fair, which is one of the most vis­ited places by tourists as well. “We are lo­cated close to this place and I will shortly be mov­ing to pe­riph­eries of May­fair as it’s quite close to our work­place and a hub of our ac­tiv­i­ties,” he says

Fig­ures from Lux­habi­tat, a real es­tate bro­ker­age and in­te­rior de­sign com­pany, say In­dian buy­ers are one of the largest over­seas in­vestors pur­chas­ing prop­er­ties in May­fair, mak­ing up a quar­ter of all sales. They con­tinue to lead the way ahead of Rus­sians, Middle East­ern and Asian buy­ers.

Zeyad Al Saf­far, head of Lon­don lux­ury sales at Lux­habi­tat, says “I am not sur­prised that In­di­ans are buy­ing in Lon­don, with May­fair the pre­ferred post­code, boast­ing the finest Bri­tish lux­ury brands in the world.”An In­dian fam­ily he says typ­i­cally spends be­tween £1 mil­lion and £20 mil­lion on buy­ing a home in May­fair, with 70% pur­chas­ing an apart­ment or pen­t­house. The rest want to buy large man­sions, mews and beau­ti­ful Vic­to­rian style homes. In­dian in­vestors, apart from Bel­gravia, Knightsbridge, May­fair and Chelsea, which are most def­i­nitely prime, also fo­cus on close neigh­bour­hoods, in­clud­ing West­min­ster, Vic­to­ria and Pim­lico. Th­ese are the new lux­ury golden post­codes, with beau­ti­ful bal­cony views of the iconic Big Ben, Lon­don Eye and the fa­mous Shard build­ing.

West­min­ster is also def­i­nitely set to gain from the £2bn re­de­vel­op­ment of neigh­bour­ing Vic­to­ria and a rip­ple ef­fect from prime cen­tral Lon­don.

De­vel­op­ers are con­vert­ing old of­fice build­ings – of­ten for­merly owned or oc­cu­pied by govern­ment de­part­ments – into new lat­eral homes with fan­tas­tic views of Big Ben and the River Thames. Real es­tate val­ues have also been on the up­swing. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by prop­erty con­sul­tants Knight Frank, be­tween July 2014 and July 2015, some 63% of buy­ers worth over £10 mil­lion were non-Bri­tish. Among the non- Brits the big­gest in­vestors are from the Middle East, Qatar, Rus­sia, China and In­dia. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Sav­ills re­port ti­tled The World and Lon­don 2015, French buy­ers are con­cen­trated in South West Lon­don, and prime Cen­tral is pre­ferred by In­di­ans.

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