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Key London locations see surge in property buyers from Middle East

The latest Market Insight report from Kay & Co shows that Middle Eastern applicants are up 50% compared to the same time last year, accounting for 30% of all sales applicants in the first three months of 2011.

‘We are seeing the prime markets being boosted by strong overseas demand. As political turbulence intensifies overseas, it is reinforcing once again that residential property in central London is a safe haven for international wealth,’ said Martin Bikhit, Kay & Co managing director.

‘Over the last few months the number of Middle Eastern buyers has significantly increased following the Egyptian crisis and the subsequent wider unrest in the region. We have seen the proportion of Middle Eastern applicants double compared with the same time last year to 30% in the first quarter of 2011,’ he added.

Middle Eastern buyers are predominantly interested in properties with asking prices of over £5 million. Some of these applicants already have smaller properties in the capital and are now looking for a bigger, more permanent residence.
‘The properties being sought must be very secure and thus tend to fall into two categories: either a large secure house in a good neighbourhood or a portered building with 24 hour security, both of which are in short supply,’ explained Bikhit.

Overseas demand is also strong from China, India, Europe, particularly Spain, and Australia, with Russian buyers also starting to edge back into the market, the report also says.

‘In addition to rising demand from abroad, domestic demand for residential property in our local market is being fuelled by the good performance of London’s economy relative to the rest of the UK,’ said Bikhit.

‘The London School of Economics reported in January that London had recovered better from the recession compared to other UK regions due to a multitude of factors. The major ones identified being the over-representation of the middle classes, the bail out and consolidation of the banking sector plus the wide and more flexible labour market,’ he explained.

‘Other influences included the presence of non-domiciles. Public sector head count, bankers’ bonuses and regulation were cited as potential threats to the strength of the recovery in the capital,’ he added.