Recent interest in UK property from overseas buyers has been likened to what happened after Black Monday in the early 1990s by top end agents. For anyone buying in dollars, the exchange rate coupled with recent property price reductions have effectively reduced prices of properties in London by 40% from this time last year.
Property Vision’s Middle East director James Geddes sees parallels today from the economic situation in the early 90s. ‘Then, almost overnight, the devaluation of sterling and the reduction in property prices made London a cheaper place to buy.’
Last year, the Middle Eastern buyers on Property Vision’s books weren’t interested in buying in the UK because of high prices and a weak dollar. That has now all changed. ‘Recently I have seen a much stronger interest in the UK market due to the reversal of these two factors. In December, 80% of the people we spoke to in the Middle East were interested in UK property, most of them looking to buy in summer this year,’ says Mr Geddes.
London agents Douglas & Gordon have also seen more interest from overseas buyers. Director Ed Mead says: ‘We have seen 20% more online registrations from overseas buyers compared to last year this time. Nationalities showing the most interest are from Italy, France and the Middle East, who are registering on our website. Currently, 70% of our sales transactions in central London are to foreign buyers.’