Monday, June 14, 2010

S’poreans join rush to buy London homes

ASIAN investors, including those from Singapore, attracted by a weak pound and rising rents, made up almost half of all buyers in the London residential property market in the past year, according to research by Knight Frank.

Investors from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia accounted for 28 per cent of London home purchases in the year to March, the London- based broker said in an e-mailed statement.

Purchases from the rest of Asia, not including India, amounted to 18 per cent, and British buyers represented 37 per cent of sales.

“Current international investment demand is almost totally concentrated on London and is primarily coming from Asia,” Mr Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said in the statement.

He added: “The interaction of currency movements, strong capital-price growth and, more recently, rising rents, have created an attractive investment case.”

Chinese investors are also looking to buy property overseas to spread their risk if the mainland China market bubble bursts, Knight Frank said.

Many are looking to gain access to British universities, with the number of Asian students studying in the country rising 175 per cent over the past decade, the broker said.

The most attractive homes for Asian investors are located in the two central London zones and within a few minutes’ walk of a train station.

They also have high-quality security and facilities, according to the broker.

Asian investment in London property totalled GBP 761 million (S$1.6 billion) over the past 12 months, according to Knight Frank.

Source: my paper, 14 Jun 2010

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