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Indians second largest buyers of Central London property
Live Mint  |  August 17, 2017

Madhurima Nandy Bengaluru

Indians are the second largest buyers of property in central London, accounting for 22% of sales in the year to August, pushing buyers from West Asia to the third slot (at 21%), according to property investment advisory London Central Portfolio’s (LCP) latest sales audit.

 

South-East Asian buyers took the top spot, accounting for 36% of all purchases.

 

Interestingly, Indians also spent more per house. They accounted for one-third of the total spend, with an average purchase price of £1.77 million, slightly higher than the market average of £1.6 million.

 

Meanwhile, the number of buyers from continental Europe has fallen significantly, and they now account for only 7% of sales, from 24% previously.

 

Analysts attribute this to the uncertainty following Brexit.

 

Following 2015’s changes to the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in India that increased the amount Indians could spend on properties in the UK&emsp(or elsewhere) to $250,000 per person, there has been a notable surge of purchases from wealthy Indian families.

 

Their interest has been stoked by a sluggish real-estate market back home, LCP’s chief executive Naomi Heaton said in a 14 August release.

 

“As India has become a more challenging place to invest in, with high loan interest rates and rising prices in the main urban centres, together with increasing global political and economic uncertainty, Indian buyers with a larger amount of capital to spend have increasingly turned to London as an investment destination of choice.”&emsp

 

“As sterling has weakened against foreign currencies, representing a 20% discount for dollar denominated investors compared with two years ago, we are now seeing Indian buyers becoming an increasingly dominant force in the marketplace. They have overtaken buyers from the Middle-East, who have fallen to third place,” Heaton said. In the year to 15 August, the pound has fallen 1.38% against the rupee.

 

Indian developers beat Indian buyers to London by a few years.

 

In 2014, Mumbai-based Lodha Developers Pvt. Ltd acquired the MacDonald House property from the Canadian embassy in Mayfair for over £300 million.

 

Lodha also bought another property in Lincoln Square, and started selling apartments in the project last year. In May, Lodha UK, the London-based development arm of Lodha Developers, also raised $375 million (£290 million) of construction finance from Cain Hoy for the Lincoln Square project. It has sold 78 units worth almost $170 million (£130 million) between May 2016 to May 2017.

 

Another Mumbai-based developer Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd soft-launched its project Hanover Bond—a collection of 79 apartments and a five-star hotel—in March, and opened bookings for customers. The developer bought the property in London’s Mayfair in 2014 for around Rs1,550 crore.

 

In an investor presentation in July, Indiabulls said it has sold four apartments during the soft launch at £4,750 per square foot, at a total value of £15.48 million.

 

The project is scheduled to be officially launched in the third quarter of 2017.

 

Lodha’s No.1 Grosvenor Square project in the heart of Mayfair, and just around the corner from Bond Street and Mount Street, comprises 39 apartments and five bespoke duplexes. The apartments start at £7.5 million or Rs63 crore.

 

“Since its opening of private preview earlier this year, the project has been sold at exceptionally high rates of £6,000 per sq.ft,” a Lodha spokesperson said.