Foreigners buy London properties
London, October 18, 2011
Foreign landlords own more than 60 per cent of London's Bond Street and Oxford Street, having snapped up numerous stores in the past five years as investors sought safe havens for their cash, data from Savills showed.
The property consultancy said foreign investors were also attracted to London by the weakness of sterling, with demand pushing total property sales to more than £800 million ($1.3 billion) on Bond Street and £2 billion on Oxford Street since 2006.
Investors from countries such as Denmark, Qatar, Libya, Hong Kong and Canada now own 61 per cent of Oxford Street, while five years ago 96 per cent of the street was held by UK funds and British and Irish private investors, Savills said.
Similarly on Bond Street, 69 per cent of the location's properties are owned by overseas investors, up from five years ago when only 14 per cent was foreign owned.
While UK investors are still Bond Street's biggest single owners at 22 per cent, the French and Danish both own 13.6 per cent, while investors from China, the Middle East, Singapore and Thailand hold a combined 19.1 per cent.
Bond Street and Oxford Street are the UK's two most expensive streets for retail rents, occupying second and sixth place respectively in a 2011 Cushman and Wakefield survey of Europe's priciest shopping streets.
'We're seeing rental growth of up to 90 per cent in some sections of the streets, and that's set to continue,' Senior Surveyor Jonathan O'Regan, from Savills' central London investment team, said.
'There's also huge uncertainty elsewhere in all these people's portfolios ... Property on Bond Street is probably seen as the safest haven for a good diverse portfolio,' he said.-Reuters