Interest in London residential property from the US and India has surged over the last three years, according to Chestertons.
The London estate agent reports that the US has been the most active foreign country in this period by a considerable margin, with an increase of 85% of visitors to its website between Q1 2019.
It also reports growing interest in the London property market from India, with web traffic up by 94% during the same period.
While the capital has always been a magnet for foreign investment, Britain’s ‘Brexit stalemate’ has seen interest from most EU countries in Q1 2019 dwindle compared to last year, mostly from France (-16%), Spain and Denmark (-13.8%) and Austria (-34%).
However, interest from the US has risen from 3.3% of Chestertons’ total website traffic in 2017 to 10% in 2019. This has been driven by the weakening of the pound against the US dollar of the past couple of years.
The average sterling/dollar exchange rate in Q1 2019 was 6.4% lower than in Q1 2018 and is 24% below the last peak, when it reached 1.72% in July 2014.
Additionally, India’s growing economy, expanding middle class and favourable currency exchange rates appear to be encouraging more Indian investors to consider purchasing property in London. In Q1 2019, Chesterstons’ web traffic from India surged 94% compared to Q1 2018 – though this still only represents 1.3% of the total website visits for that period.
Although the pound has widely risen against the Rupee since April 2017, it is still 13.5% below its peak in August 2015. Moreover, a lot of Indian buyers transact in US dollars.
“There has been a noticeable increase in interest in London property from the US and India, mainly thanks to the weakness of the pound, coupled with the fact that prices have come down by as much as 20% since the peak, therefore making London property a very attractive investment opportunity,” Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons, comments.
“Our Mayfair, Hyde Park and Canary Wharf offices have seen an increase in enquiries from Indian buyers, while our Hyde Park and Westminster offices have seen some increase in enquiries from US buyers.”
He adds: “A common theme among both nationalities that we are dealing with is that they are taking a longer-term view about London and the UK. Brexit is generally regarded as a shorter-term blip which will not detract to any significant degree from London’s pedigree as a world city and a safe haven.”