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Asia and Middle East property investors see London as a safe bet

Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings, one of London's largest, independent lettings agency, said it is receiving growing numbers of enquiries from landlords based overseas, in particular from Asia and the Middle East.
‘Overseas investors, particularly from the Far East, are pouring into the London property market, looking for high quality properties in prime central locations. It's estimated that around 55% of London property is currently bought by overseas investors,’ said Marc von Grundherr, lettings director.

‘UK developers are flocking to the Far East to sell properties at the region's trade shows and our offices in Hong Kong and Singapore are booked solid attending exhibitions and providing rental estimates for investors considering purchasing property in London,’ he added.

He explained that this is good news for London's renters as there is continuing undersupply of affordable rental homes, particularly studios and one bed apartments. The firm’s nine London offices are facing exceptional demand, particularly in areas like the City which recently experienced its busiest ever month.

New developments are popular, particularly established ones such as Pan Peninsula and Lanterns Court. But the lack of mid range properties and affordability are important issues prompting many tenants to look further afield to find more choice and better value for money, he added.

‘Tenants accept they may have to compromise and location is often the compromise they are prepared to make. For example, the new Aqua Vista development in Bow has been very popular and when the first units recently came on stream we let 15 apartments in just two weeks. They are reasonably priced with studios available at £230 to £250 per week and one beds at £275 to £295, making them ideal for young professionals. They may not be in the heart of the City, but they make up for this with their excellent accommodation and easy commute,’ said von Grundherr.

There is a similar trend in other parts of London. In Central London there is a shortage of one and two bed properties, particularly in Knightsbridge where 85% of inquiries are for this type of property. It's the same story in Hampstead and other parts of north London such as Hendon. One bed apartments can rent for £400 per week.

‘It seems wider economic uncertainty is having little effect on the London property market both in terms of rental demand and the capital's attraction as a place to invest,’ added von Grundherr.