VIEW FROM THE TOP
Savvy investors from the Middle East have flocked to London for decades, and the city’s luxury real estate segment continues to rise above market fluctuations and perceived political drama. Panna Munyal looks at some of the homes currently on offer
London’s luxury real estate sector continues to attract UAE buyers. We look at what’s new on the market
S entiment is divided when it comes to investing in mid-level London residences. However, while the property-buying frenzy of 2013 may have abated – owing to political uncertainty and an increase in stamp duty charges – the city continues to attract a large number of luxuryhome hunters. Indeed, Central London is abuzz with high-end developments. These are residences that carry the coveted W1 and SW1 postcodes – spaces that promise owners every conceivable luxury. Aweinspiring views? Check. Well-appointed amenities? In droves. Opulent interiors? At every turn. Concierge services? Twenty-four hours a day.
International investors look to London for its transparent legal system, cosmopolitan populace, excellent cultural and education offerings, and widespread usage of English, the uncontested lingua franca of the world. Property buyers from the Middle East have long favoured London for their secondhome and investment decisions. Enness, a Londonbased mortgage brokerage that opened its fourth office in the UAE earlier this year, reported a 31 per cent increase in inquiries from GCC clients in the past six months, while a survey conducted by YouGov last year found that London was second only to Dubai as a preferred destination for Gulf investors. “We are seeing a rise in interest from a younger set of buyers from the Middle East, as a new generation is being educated to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, who had invested in central London in the 1980s – during the last major dip in the property cycle. The offspring are familiar with the areas of Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Belgravia because of family excursions in their younger years,” says David Adams, director of real estate agency Humberts Mayfair.
“Of course, some investors are looking outside of traditional locations, especially if they can buy six bedrooms for the price of one. The properties in demand are lateral two, three and four bedroom apartments between £2 million and £7m [up to Dh34 million]. For the UAE, the currency devaluation – the pound has lost more than 10 per cent of its value
CITYSCAPE The tallest residential building in London’s West End, Centre Point has 82 apartments, with prices starting at Dh8.8 million for a one-bedroom property