US buyers’ share of luxury London properties doubles in a year, consultants say

Posted on: June 28th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(LONDON) — The number of luxury homes being sold to American buyers in London has almost doubled in the past year, according to research by a global property consultancy agency.

The U.S. buyers’ share of the luxury housing market (the top 10% by value) doubled from 3.3% last year to 6% in 2019, data sent to ABC News by Knight Frank suggests. That means American buyers are now the second largest nationality in the luxury market there, only trailing behind Chinese nationals, who comprised 9.4% of the market over the past year.

The most popular area for American buyers is the affluent neighborhood of Marylebone, followed by Mayfair, Chelsea, Islington and Belgravia. They spent an average of $9.3 million on their homes last year compared to an average of $6.3 million over the last decade, Knight Frank said.

Although wealthy Americans are investing in the London property market in even greater numbers, the research comes as the rate of Londoners leaving the capital has doubled in just five years, with experts blaming a rise in property prices and knife crime.

The surge in the luxury market coincides with a net migration away from London to other parts of the U.K. In the fiscal year ending June 2018, some 103,230 moved away from the city, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics seen by ABC News. That is more than double the rate of migration away from the capital in the year ending June 2013.

Lifestyle economist Christopher Snowdon told the Daily Telegraph that “property prices are a big deal” and arguably the central reason for the exodus from the capital.

But the economic conditions for foreign buyers in London have become increasingly more favorable, particularly in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, for the latest batch of wealthy Americans.

“The combination of a strong U.S. stock market and a weak U.K. pound means London has moved onto the radar of more American buyers,” Tom Bill, a partner at Knight Frank, told ABC News. “The effective discount for U.S. buyers in prime central London, which combines the exchange rate movement and changes to property prices, was around 25% at the end of May.

“Overseas demand for London property comes from a broad range of nationalities, bolstering the city’s credentials as the leading global hub for high net worth individuals.”

Among the super-rich Americans taking advantage of this situation is Ken Griffin, the billionaire American hedge fund manager. In January, Griffin bought a Central Park penthouse apartment for $238 million, making it the most expensive home in the United States, and followed this up by buying a house close to Buckingham Palace in London for $122 million dollars in the same month, according to Forbes.

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