Covid-19 may have halted global travel last year, but that didn’t dampen interest from international buyers purchasing London property.
In 2020, international buyers purchased 30% of homes sold in Greater London, up from 27% in 2019. However, this figure remained below the last peak in 2018 of 35%, even though international buyers stood to gain last year from both the stamp duty holiday and beating the upcoming introduction of a 2% surcharge (on international buyers) from April 2021.
While there were 11% more sales agreed in Greater London last year compared with 2019 and despite a promising start to 2020, Prime Central London’s housing market has been much slower to recover from the onset of Covid-19 with fewer sales agreed than in 2019 (-13%).
Against a backdrop of fewer sales, international buyers purchased 49% of homes sold in Prime Central London last year, up from 45% in 2019. Again, this figure stands below 2018’s peak of 55% and is in part explained by a drop-off in UK buyers, many of whom headed for the suburbs or further afield to the country.
However, the weakness of sterling, impending Brexit and various political factors across the globe, such as the new security legislation in Hong Kong, all combined to support international buyer numbers.