Property News

Highest Level of Homes Bought by International Buyers in PCL in 6 Years

Em Morley - February 18, 2019

International buyers purchased 57% of homes in prime central London in the second half (H2) of 2018, which is the highest level in six years, according to the latest International Buyer and Seller Survey from Hamptons International.

The estate agent found that the number of homes bought by international buyers in prime central London reached the highest level since H2 2012 (58%) in H2 2018.

The survey, which began in 2011, is completed by prime Countrywide branches across London and its neighbouring commuting counties.

Prime central London

The proportion of international buyers in prime central London rose from 55% in H2 2017 and 39% in H2 2016, following the EU referendum. Pre-EU referendum, international buyers purchased 40% of homes in prime central London (H2 2015).

The pick-up in H2 2018 was due to a decline in UK buyers, combined with an increase in EU buyers, Hamptons reports. EU buyers have regained their place as the biggest group of foreign buyers in prime central London, purchasing one in five (19%) homes in H2 2018, which is up from 10% in H2 2017.

The amount of homes bought by Middle Eastern buyers in prime central London has almost halved over the past year, from 15% in H2 2017 to just 8% in H2 2018.

Greater London

Meanwhile, in Greater London, the proportion of homes bought by international buyers also rose to the highest level in six years. In H2 2018, international buyers purchased 36% of homes, which is up from 31% in H2 2017. This number is 15% higher than in H2 2015 (pre-EU referendum), when international buyers bought 21% of homes.

This pick-up was also caused by a rise in EU buyers in Greater London. EU buyers purchased 14% of homes in Greater London in H2 2018, which is up from 8% in H2 2017 and 10% in H2 2015.

Over the last year, the proportion of homes purchased by buyers from India (+3%), Russia (+1%) and Hong Kong (+1%) has also increased.

Aneisha Beveridge, the Head of Research at Hamptons International, comments: “The proportion of homes bought by international buyers in London hit the highest level in six years. In H2 2018, 57% of homes in prime central London were purchased by a foreign buyer. The increase was caused by a drop off in UK buyers and a 9% year-on-year rise in EU buyers.

“Sterling’s weakness, making it cheaper for many international buyers, seems to be outweighing Brexit uncertainty when it comes to foreign buyers making a decision on where to buy a home. A property that would have cost an EU buyer £1m in H1 2016 effectively cost £124,000 less in H2 2018, due to sterling’s depreciation.”