Property in central London is very attractive to foreign buyers as prices have been falling due to an oversupply of luxury flats and affordability issues. International buyers are still aiming to pump as much as £40 billion into central London property – despite the shadow of Brexit and new taxes hanging over the capital.
Prices of these luxury homes are 15% lower than in September 2014, according to Savills. Coupled with the fall in sterling, some international buyers can buy homes for less than they could two years ago.
Indian buyers are pouring into central London’s lethargic high-end property market after a change to how much money they can take out of their home country. Buying agency Black Brick said that “13% of sales it has done this year have been to Indian buyers, up from 2.6% in 2016.”
Separate research by Cluttons found that between August 2016 and July 2017, Indian buyers accounted for 22% of the sales in prime central London, made up of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, up from 5% in 2012.
“The majority of demand for West End and City buildings is from overseas funds, including Asia and the Middle East. There is also a queue of private investors from China, Europe and the UK… Other big international buyers include those from the Middle East, France, Nigeria and Russia.”
This is partly due to changes in the Reserve Bank of India’s regulations of how much money can be taken out of the country. The so-called liberal remittance scheme was adjusted in 2015, meaning that a family of four can take out $1m, while previously it was only $400,000. Camilla Dell, managing partner at Black Brick, said: “It means that a family of four, after one year, will have $1m to spend, and after two years $2m. It quickly adds up, and explains why a lot of our Indian clients are buying in the £1m to £2m range.”
Black Brick’s Indian clients are split between investors, who largely want to buy new build flats in Shoreditch and White City, and owner-occupiers looking in Mayfair.