High net worth investors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE see the UK property market as a strong investment opportunity as their confidence in the market grows, according to a new report from the UK’s oldest and most successful Islamic Bank, Al Rayan Bank.
The research found that 89 per cent see the UK as a priority for investment, with 85 per cent saying their confidence in the UK has grown over the last 12 months , citing surplus demand, reliable investment returns, strong rental growth and the availability of diverse assets.
The 2023 GCC Investment Barometer - which surveyed 150 investors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE with an average net worth of $208m - found that almost all of the respondents are planning to make new investments or increase their investments over the next five years, with many looking to invest in property across the UK’s regions, according to the findings.
Liverpool and Manchester (both 34 per cent), Birmingham (26 per cent), Brighton (23 per cent) and Newcastle (19 per cent) are the top five targets for this investment outside of London (56 per cent).
The research found that a third of respondents have bought property in London over the last 12 months, more than any other major global market.
Those that invested in London over the period spent an average of $90.8m, with Tokyo ($90.4m) and Zurich ($89.7m ) the next highest, according to the findings.
Maisam Fazal, chief commercial officer at Al Rayan Bank, says: “UK property is the darling of GCC investor portfolios. London, in particular, is seen as a reliable location for safe returns. Investors know they can rely on the UK’s stable currency, growing demand for housing, rising rental incomes, transparent legal system and its established network of skilled property professionals, which make buying and owning property in the UK a profitable and headache-free experience.
“This is an auspicious time for those with assets to deploy in the UK property market and coupled with those from the GCC considering Britain as a second home, I’d expect this trend to continue.”
Giles Cunningham, chief executive at Al Rayan Bank, adds: “The GCC investment barometer has unveiled an encouraging picture for the property market across the UK. Investors are also becoming more aware of the real estate opportunities across the regions, which are proving increasingly attractive as regeneration projects accelerate.”
One investor - Aneel Mussarat, founder of the MCR Property Group - comments: “There is undoubtedly a bias towards the UK among GCC investors because of the long-standing relationships that exist with developers and agents across the market, the absence of any language barriers and the surplus demand and strong rental growth that we continue to see. London remains the primary focus, but investors are increasingly willing to look further afield. The regeneration that continues apace across the UK’s regions is creating more attractive investment opportunities for GCC investors, and we’re seeing this reflected in our own portfolio.”