The weaker pound makes London a prime target for GCC real estate investments.
There are also many banks in the city ready to help citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries seize their opportunities.
While GCC nationals have long held a healthy share of foreign property owners in London, the fall in the number of Russian investors this year is a sign of the relative strength of dollar-pegged Gulf currencies. This has led to increased interest from GCC buyers.
Banks that specialize in linking the region to the UK market also play a key role in enabling deals for GCC investors looking to increase their exposure to London property. I am taking the opportunity.
Just last week (December 15th) Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) announced the opening of a new office in Mayfair. This is specifically to serve his GCC nationals interested in acquiring property in the UK.
As anyone who has played British Monopoly knows, Mayfair is one of the most expensive boroughs in London, one of the few areas of the city in the world, and the number of individual homes. Prices can exceed £100 million ($121.77 million).
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As Mayfair-based property firm Wetherell reported last year, London’s ‘Gigaprime’ £100m+ housing market is in just seven countries: Qatar, India, the UK, the US, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Ruled by the buyer. Arabia. Overall, however, the Qatari public has gained a particularly large number of buyers in recent years.
In 2016, they were reported to own nearly a quarter of the borough’s 279 acres and more than 4,300 residential properties, an area northwest of Mayfair where Qatar-controlled properties are concentrated. The term ‘Little Doha’ has come to be used to describe The Al-Thani family and their associates.
Apart from BLME, other GCC banks that have set up shop in affluent neighborhoods to help GCC millionaires invest in some of London’s finest properties include Qatar National Bank (QNB). will be ), Riyadh Bank, Saudi British Bank (SABB).
From individual investors to sovereign wealth funds
Further down the London real estate pyramid, GCC investors are also looking for lower-end properties.
In October, international realtor Chestertons reported a 10% increase in inquiries from Middle Eastern buyers looking to buy in the city.
The pound recovered somewhat after reaching near parity with the dollar at the end of September, but this is not surprising as exchange rates have historically still favored dollar-denominated currencies.
In a parallel world of commercial real estate investment, the weaker sterling, which is boosting GCC-based homebuying by individuals, could stimulate further investment from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the region. These SWFs are one of the largest funders behind London development projects that include some of London’s most iconic buildings.
For example, The Shard, London’s tallest building, was originally funded by a consortium of Qatari private investors, including QNB, and is now 95% owned by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
QIA also owns a 20% stake in London’s Heathrow Airport and co-owns the Canary Wharf Group alongside US company Brookfield Properties. The company is one of Europe’s largest property developers and owns billions of pounds worth of London property.
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