Skip to content

Fewer Chinese and more Russians buying property in central London

The report, which tracks the nationality of prime central London buyers, highlights the proportion of buyers from the UK, Middle East, European Union, China, Far East, USA, Russia, India, South Africa and the rest of the world.
The results highlight a change in the buying habits of both European Union and Chinese buyers throughout 2011. The proportion of European Union buyers fell by 19% per cent throughout the year. Chinese buyers demonstrate a similar trend, peaking at 13% of all purchases in the second quarter but falling to just 2% in the last three months of 2011.
Conversely, the report highlights growing numbers of buyers from the UK, the Middle East and Russia. UK buyers returned to the sector in the second half of 2011, peaking at 44% of all purchases in the third quarter. Middle Eastern buyers were the only nationality to increase quarter on quarter throughout 2011, peaking at 16% in the fourth quarter.

The report demonstrates that the biggest jump in buyers between the third and fourth quarter were the Russians, whose purchases increased by 11% in the last three months of 2011 compared with the previous quarter.
‘The results of our nationality tracker are a fascinating insight into the confidence levels of international buyers. As different regions around the world experience times of economic or political uncertainty, prime London residential property has offered more than just a safe bet as prices grew on average by 13% last year alone,’ said Adam Challis, head of research at Hamptons International.
‘For example, political uncertainty in the lead up to Russian elections in March 2012 has led to a jump in the number of Russians buying prime property stock in central London. Meanwhile, British buyers are taking advantage of one of the rare ways to protect capital at the moment as Prime property has and is expected to outperform most other asset classes,’ he added.

According to Andrew Phillips, London director at Hamptons International, the drop in Chinese buyers at the end of 2011 sees this buyer group resume to more normal levels. ‘We have seen a shift from Hong Kong to Singapore and surrounding countries and the impact is filtering through to the London property market,’ he said.
‘The continued mix of nationalities operating in the Prime Central London market continues to highlight that the global market still sees London as the world’s number one city in which to invest when it comes to property,’ he added.