Pendulum swings for international buyers in Prime Central London
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The number of European Union and Chinese buyers of Prime Central London (PCL) property declined over the course of last year while the number of purchasers from UK and Russia grew, according to the latest Prime Central London report from Hamptons International.

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.  Set against a backdrop of consistent PCL transaction levels and despite leading PCL purchases in Q1 2011, the proportion of European Union buyers fell by 19 per cent throughout the year.  Chinese buyers demonstrate a similar trend, peaking at 13 per cent of all PCL purchases in Q2 but falling to just two per cent in Q4 last year.

Conversely, the report highlights growing numbers of buyers from the UK, Middle East and Russia.  UK buyers returned to PCL in the second half of 2011, peaking at 44 per cent of all PCL purchases in Q3 2011.  Middle Eastern buyers were the only nationality to increase Quarter on Quarter throughout 2011, peaking at 16 per cent of all PCL purchases in Q4 2011.  The report demonstrates that the biggest jump in buyers between Q3 and Q4 were the Russians, whose purchases increased by 11 per cent in Q4 2011 compared with the previous quarter.

Adam Challis, Head of Research at Hamptons International, who compiled the report, commented: "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 - prices grew on average by 13 percent last year alone."
"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."

Andrew Phillips, London Director at Hamptons International, added: "While transaction levels in Prime Central London have remained broadly consistent throughout 2011, it's been clear that the melting pot of international buyers has changed.  EU buyer levels have dropped as individuals take a step back from regularly spending in our property market as they look to spread their money across a broader mix of investment options.

"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.

"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."

For media enquiries please contact:
Aisling Gray, Senior PR Manager, Hamptons International
020 7758 8422/ 0778 611 8634 /

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