International buyers bought 57% of homes in prime central London in H2 2018 The highest level in six years
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57% of homes purchased in prime central London in H2 2018 were bought by an international buyer, the highest level since H2 2012 (58%). 

 EU buyers have regained their place as the biggest group of international buyers in prime central London by purchasing 19% of homes in H2 2018, up from 10% in H2 2017. 

 International buyers bought 36% of homes in Greater London in H2 2018, up from 31% in H2 2017. 

Prime Central London 

The latest results from Hamptons International’s International Buyer and Seller Survey* show that 57% of homes bought in prime central London (PCL) in H2 2018 were purchased by an international buyer, the highest level since H2 2012 (58%) (table 1). The survey which began in 2011 is completed by prime Countrywide branches across London and neighbouring commuting counties. 

The proportion of international buyers rose from 55% in H2 2017 and 39% in H2 2016 following the EU referendum. Pre-EU referendum, international buyers purchased 40% of homes in PCL (H2 2015) (chart 1 and table 1). 

The pickup in H2 2018 was due to a fall in UK buyers combined with an increase in EU buyers. EU buyers have regained their place as the biggest group of foreign buyers in PCL, purchasing one in five (19%) homes in H2 2018, up from 10% in H2 2017 (chart 2). The proportion of homes bought by Middle Eastern buyers in PCL has nearly halved over the last year from 15% in H2 2017 to 8% in H2 2018. 

Greater London 

Meanwhile in Greater London the proportion of homes bought by an international buyer also rose to the highest level in six years. In H2 2018 international buyers bought 36% of homes in Greater London, up from 31% in H2 2017. This proportion is 15% higher than in H2 2015 (pre-referendum) when 21% of homes were purchased by an international buyer (chart 1 and table 1). 

The pickup was also caused by an increase in EU buyers in Greater London. 14% of homes in Greater London were purchased by EU buyers in H2 2018, up from 8% in H2 2017 and 10% in H2 2015 (pre-EU referendum) (table 2 and chart 2). Over the last year the proportion of homes bought by buyers from India (+3%), Russia (+1%) and Hong Kong (+1%) has also increased. 

Commenting Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research at Hamptons International said: 

“The proportion of homes bought by international buyers in London hit the highest level in six years. In H2 2018, 57% of homes in prime central London were purchased by a foreign buyer. The increase was caused by a drop off in UK buyers and a 9% year-on-year rise in EU buyers. 

“Sterling’s weakness, making it cheaper for many international buyers, seems to be outweighing Brexit uncertainty when it comes to foreign buyers making a decision on where to buy a home. A property that would have cost an EU buyer £1million in H1 2016 effectively cost £124,000 less in H2 2018 due to sterling’s depreciation.” 

Chart 1 – Proportion of homes bought by international buyers 

Source: Hamptons International 

 

Chart 2 – Proportion of homes bought by EU buyers 

 

Source: Hamptons International 

 

 

Table 1 – Proportion of homes bought by international buyers 

Source: Hamptons International 

 

Table 2 – Homes bought in Greater London by nationality 

Source: Hamptons International 

 

Table 3 – Change in cost of a £1million home since H1 2016 

Source: Hamptons International & Bank of England 

(i.e. a home that would have cost £1million for a European buyer in H1 2016 now effectively costs £875,591) 

 

For further information please contact: 

Alison Blease 

Head of Research PR, Hamptons International 

Tel: +44 (0) 776 96 77 825 

Email: bleasea@hamptons-int.com 

 

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