Crunching the numbers on foreign investment


The Guardian has reported this week that one in four investors from Gulf states intending to buy property in London plan purely to gain from rising prices without living there.

Looking at the figures cited, the research carried out had 127 respondents, out of which "more than one in ten" said London was their city of choice for investment. A quarter of those said they were targeting capital gains as opposed to buying to live in or rent out.  By my calculation this makes approximately 3 or 4 out of those respondents who were looking at "buy to leave".

As my colleague Peter Birkett wrote a few weeks ago, foreign ownership in London accounts for just 7% of the residential market:

We should also not forget that these purchasers pay taxes in various forms by virtue of buying and owning the property, and based on this report, almost as many investors plan to buy to let as they do buy to leave. 

London is an international city with a strong financial reputation and it is therefore attractive to foreign investors.  Perhaps London is a "victim" of its own success by having the infrastructure and stability which is the envy of other countries but will making foreign investors feel unwelcome in the UK really solve the problem?

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Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons, said: “Our research confirms the sentiments of many that London is perceived to be lined with gold bricks with the residential returns outperforming mediocre stock and bond markets in recent years. This lock-up and leave attitude has been a political hot topic and often cited as a main driver of rising values and diminishing affordable stock.”
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