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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

The National - News - Luxury - - CONTENTS -

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

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