London prime property demand from UAE to remain high even after Brexit: Analysts


London prime property demand from UAE to remain high even after Brexit: Analysts
According to Knight Frank, ultra-high net worth individuals allocated $3.3 billion to property market in London last year.

Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 5:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 7:08 PM

Dubai - Appetite for prime properties in London remains high among the UAE residents due to decline in pound as well as prices there over the last few years due to Brexit concern, according to real estate analysts.
They expect demand for prime property in London will stay healthy from this region even after Britain has left the European Union, thanks to London's prime position as one of the top financial centres.
Due to attractive exchange rates and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Prathyusha Gurrapu, head of research and advisory at property services firm Core, says interesting opportunities are being created for dollar-pegged economies in the region.
"Currency advantage has now resulted in savings of nearly 25 per cent, further compounded by softened sales prices (an average of 15 per cent), making property purchase in prime central London over 40 per cent lower than June 2014 peak values for buyers trading in dollars," Gurrapu said.
The UAE dirham has strengthened 11.5 per cent from 5.38 to 4.76 versus sterling since UK voted in favour of referendum on June 23, 2016, according to
She pointed out that there is more appetite for new build developments and less demand for older properties that require redevelopment.
She further stated that said traditional UAE investors are acquiring upgraded or larger units in prime central London which are now fairly priced after persistent decline prices over the years. "This trend has led to a rise in enquiry levels in the ultra-prime end of the market for newly developed/redeveloped properties, priced between £10 - 20 million," she added.
Data revealed that apartment prices in South Kensington, Chelsea and Mayfair and St. James areas have fallen 20 per cent, 15 per cent, and 12 per cent, respectively, since prices peaked in 2014. While house prices are down by 19 per cent, 14 per cent and eight per cent, respectively, for the above-mentioned areas.
Alex Casaki, head of London Desk at Core, said Prime Central London's inherent appeal is deeply understood by the UAE and wider Middle East-based investors/end-users who have historically shown a keen interest in properties within the Prime Central London districts - education, business and secondary homes being the primary demand drivers.
"Over the last few years, our UAE clients have increasingly taken the view that the currency advantage and price softening outweigh the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. We don't anticipate a rise in the pound to deter UAE based purchasers as the current Brexit uncertainty has resulted in less properties being brought to market," Casaki said, adding that clarity on Brexit should result in further opportunities coming to market.
According to Knight Frank, ultra-high net worth individuals allocated $3.3 billion (Dh12.11 billion) to property market in London last year.
Taimur Khan, head of research in the Middle East at Knight Frank, said London remains a pretty favoured location for real estate investment among UAE and GCC investors.
"There is an impetus for the UAE and GCC investors to take advantage of currency depreciation since June 2016 as prices are heavily discounted for these dollar-pegged buyers. We are seeing such activity as investors are looking particularly to buy for personal residence and for their children - education in the UK is a major driver for UK property investment - ahead of any recovery in pound's value against regional currencies," Khan told Khaleej Times in an interview.
He stressed that Brexit is a significant issue but London always stays among the top cities for real estate investments from this region.
"Whatever happens about Brexit, locals are going to see opportunity and desire for London property investment in any event. It looks like some form of resolution to Brexit seems more likely. A Brexit deal will surely give local and regional buyers more confidence about direction related to the UK and that could drive investments in to the London property market," he added.

By Waheed Abbas

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