In­di­ans sec­ond largest buy­ers of prop­erty in cen­tral Lon­don

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Mad­hurima Nandy mad­hurima.n@livemint.com

BEN­GALURU: In­di­ans are the sec­ond largest buy­ers of prop­erty in cen­tral Lon­don, ac­count­ing for 22% of sales in the year to Au­gust, push­ing buy­ers from West Asia to the third slot (at 21%), ac­cord­ing to prop­erty in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory Lon­don Cen­tral Port­fo­lio’s (LCP) lat­est sales au­dit.

South-East Asian buy­ers took the top spot, ac­count­ing for 36% of all pur­chases.

In­ter­est­ingly, In­di­ans also spent more per house. They ac­counted for one-third of the to­tal spend, with an av­er­age pur­chase price of £ 1.77 mil­lion, slightly higher than the mar­ket av­er­age of £1.6 mil­lion.

Mean­while, the num­ber of buy­ers from con­ti­nen­tal Europe has fallen sig­nif­i­cantly, and they now ac­count for only 7% of sales, from 24% pre­vi­ously.

An­a­lysts at­tribute this to the un­cer­tainty fol­low­ing Brexit.

Fol­low­ing 2015’s changes to the Lib­er­alised Re­mit­tance Scheme in In­dia that in­creased the amount In­di­ans could spend on prop­er­ties in the UK (or else­where) to $250,000 per per­son, there has been a no­table surge of pur­chases from wealthy In­dian fam­i­lies.

Their in­ter­est has been stoked by a slug­gish real-es­tate mar­ket back home, LCP’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Naomi Heaton said in a 14 Au­gust re­lease.

“As In­dia has be­come a more chal­leng­ing place to in­vest in, with high loan in­ter­est rates and ris­ing prices in the main ur­ban cen­tres, to­gether with in­creas­ing global po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, In­dian buy­ers with a larger amount of cap­i­tal to spend have in­creas­ingly turned to Lon­don as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion of choice.”

“As ster­ling has weak­ened against for­eign cur­ren­cies, rep­re­sent­ing a 20% dis­count for dol­lar de­nom­i­nated in­vestors com­pared with two years ago, we are now see­ing In­dian buy­ers be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly dom­i­nant force in the mar­ket­place. They have over­taken buy­ers from the Mid­dle-East, who have fallen to third place,” Heaton said. In the year to 15 Au­gust, the pound has fallen 1.38% against the ru­pee.

In­dian de­vel­op­ers beat In­dian buy­ers to Lon­don by a few years.

In 2014, Mum­bai-based Lodha De­vel­op­ers Pvt. Ltd ac­quired the Mac­Don­ald House prop­erty from the Cana­dian em­bassy in May­fair for over £300 mil­lion.

Lodha also bought an­other prop­erty in Lincoln Square, and started sell­ing apart­ments in the project last year. In May, Lodha UK, the Lon­don-based de­vel­op­ment arm of Lodha De­vel­op­ers, also raised $375 mil­lion (£290 mil­lion) of con­struc­tion fi­nance from Cain Hoy for the Lincoln Square project. It has sold 78 units worth al­most $170 mil­lion (£130 mil­lion) be­tween May 2016 to May 2017.

An­other Mum­bai- based de­vel­oper In­di­a­b­ulls Real Es­tate Ltd soft-launched its project HanoverBond—acol­lec­tion of 79 apart­ments and a five- star ho­tel—in March, and opened book­ings for cus­tomers. The de­vel­oper bought the prop­erty in Lon­don’s May­fair in 2014 for around Rs1,550 crore.

In an in­vestor pre­sen­ta­tion in July, In­di­a­b­ulls said it has sold four apart­ments dur­ing the soft launch at £4,750 per square foot, at a to­tal value of £15.48 mil­lion.

The project is sched­uled to be of­fi­cially launched in the third quar­ter of 2017.

Lodha’s No. 1 Grosvenor Square project in the heart of May­fair, and­just aroundthe cor­ner from Bond Street and Mount Street, com­prises 39 apart­ments and five be­spoke du­plexes. The apart­ments start at £7.5 mil­lion or Rs63 crore.

“Since its open­ing of pri­vate pre­view ear­lier this year, the project has been sold at ex­cep­tion­ally high rates of £6,000 per sq.ft,” a Lodha spokesper­son said.

AFP/FILE

South­East Asian buy­ers took the top spot, ac­count­ing for 36% of all pur­chases

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