Italians are the latest overseas property buyers to see London as a safe haven

Italy may be facing an economic crisis but wealthy Italians are looking to the UK to invest in property and regard the London market as a safe haven, it is claimed.

Rich Italians are investing in the safe haven of prime London residential property to protect their wealth from impending economic turmoil, according to EA Shaw, a central London property consultancy.

Italian buyers were the largest group of international investors at 16% of all purchasers for the year ending in September. Of these buyers, just over two thirds closed deals in the third quarter with the remaining taking place in the previous quarter.

‘In our prime central London patch  Italian buyers have surged into the residential market. Over the last few years buyers from Hong Kong, Russia and China have been particularly strong in this area, but we have been surprised at the speed and volume of demand from Italian investors,’ said Jamie Gunning, head of residential investment at EA Shaw.

‘We expect to see the flight of money into London property to  increase as the impact of the cost tackling Italy’s sovereign debt ripples throughout its economy,’ he explained.

Following on from the Italian purchasers in the international league table were purchasers from Hong Kong at 14% Russia at 6% and China at 3%. UK buyers made up 44% of purchasers.