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London's home for global buyers

posted 9 Mar 2012, 09:14 by Mpelembe   [ updated 9 Mar 2012, 09:15 ]

Foreign buyers are flocking to London, attracted by the city's solid property market and safe haven status. Savills estate agents say the euro zone crisis has led to increased activity from Greeks and Italians.

UK-FOREIGN HOME BUYERS - Vladislav Piatigorsky has just bought his first London flat.

Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, he's now studying in the British capital and plans to work here.

He's one of an increasing number of foreigners investing in London property - and he's done so with funds from his family.

Vladislav Piatigorsky, London property buyer, saying 

"The amount that we bought the flat for, we had it in the bank. We decided we were looking for a certain investment and a place to stay."

Vlad wants to get the £600,000 two-bedroom flat decorated before he moves in.

He found his new home through property agent Nicholas Ayre from the firm Home Fusion.

Many of Nicholas' other clients come from abroad.

Unlike Vlad, not all of them are looking for a home to live in.

From Russia to China and the Middle East, they're attracted by the investment potential of London's solid property market.

Nicholas Ayre, Property agent and Managing Director of Home Fusion, saying

"It's outside the euro zone, and a lot of my clients used to put their money into securities, and with securities the returns are somewhat lower, they're thinking why don't we put some money into the safe haven that is London. At the moment I'm working with a Russian family and they've decided that their children are going to school here, so they want somewhere for them to live in and also ultimately when their children grow up a bit, they'll look for a flat. I have a couple of Chinese clients, they're both students."

It's that security which has boosted prices of prime property here in central London by 14% last year, a figure not seen in the rest of the UK.

Analysts say the euro zone crisis and threat of a slowdown in Asia have made the city even more popular.

Savills estate agents says overseas buyers account for 43% of purchasers in the city's prime market.

Lucian Cook from Savills says they've seen an increase in wealth coming to London from Western Europe.

Lucian Cook, Director of Savills Research, saying 

"When there's specific uncertainty in a domestic economy, so you tend to find the wealthy will fly to London to look at property to invest to take advantage of the safe haven effect in areas they know and understand and for that reason we have seen fairly significant buying activity from the likes of the Greeks and the Italians over the course of 2011 and it looks like that's continuing into 2012."

While the London Olympics won't push up property prices immediately, Savills think the international attention will keep global wealth pouring into the city.

If prices continue to rise at the current rate, there's little doubt Vlad will see a good return on his investment.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters