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Overseas buyers account for half of prime London sales: Hamptons

Data from Hamptons International shows that foreign buyers purchased 57 per cent of the prime central London homes sold in the second half of 2018.

This, the estate agent says, is the highest level seen since the last half of 2012, when 58 per cent of this type of property was bought from abroad.

In 2015, before the decision to exit the EU had been voted on, this figure stood at 40 per cent.

Within Greater London, the proportion of homes brought from abroad in H2 2018 increased as well, from 31 per cent a year previous, to 36 per cent.

Hampton points out that in 2015, this figure stood at 21 per cent.

In both prime Central London and Greater London, EU buyers made up the biggest proportion of purchasers, at 19 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.

The increase in this activity, says Hamptons International head of research Aneisha Beveridge, is due the weakness in sterling, which effectively provides a discount on UK property.

“A property that would have cost an EU buyer £1m in H1 2016 effectively cost £124,000 less in H2 2018 due to sterling’s depreciation,” she adds.

Real Estate Advisory Group at Duff & Phelps non-executive chairman and Evans Randall Investors non-executive chairman John Slade comments: “These figures underline London’s attractiveness as a commercial and residential centre, which might seem surprising given the uncertainty and instability caused by Brexit. We’re also seeing an increasing number of international buyers, despite recent increases in stamp duty for overseas purchasers.

“This activity is fundamentally being driven by the currency shift… property in London is roughly 10 per cent cheaper than it was in 2016 and buyers are taking advantage of this discount.

“Despite the current political and economic climate, London in the long term is still an attractive place to live and work, and the analysis shows that. It’s really positive.”

Earlier this month, the government launched a consultation to seek industry views on a stamp duty land tax surcharge for non-UK resident property purchases to the tune of 1 per cent.

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