As spring sets in, the London real estate market usually becomes more active, both in terms of sellers and buyers, especially foreign investors. In addition to rising property prices in London, convenient geographical location, well developed infrastructure and the crisis in the euro region, a profitable GBP exchange rate, which dropped by ca. 7% since the beginning of the year, makes another incentive for foreign investments in houses and apartments in the British capital. This allows foreign customers to get additional discounts for property.
Like in previous months, London continues to be a safe haven for global investors trying to avoid the euro region crisis. West-Central London is still the most popular area among foreign customers. Customers from Russia and the former Soviet Union remain one of the most «notorious» London property owners.
Due to the fact that an increasing number of successful Russian businessmen buy property in London as an investment or a residence for their families, the media are increasingly frequently using the expression «Moscow on the Thames».
Each year owners of the most luxurious residences tend to further increase the size of their property. Virtually the only way to achieve this in central London is to build additional underground floors.
In March, champions in terms of growth in real estate prices were Kensington and Chelsea, where prices rose by 6.2% last month. The average property price has reached £ 2.3million, which is 15.8 more compared to last year.
The second place went to Westminster with prices up by 5.8% and the average property price of £ 1.58million.
In late February, Roman Abramovich was spotlighted by many news agencies in London over the permission from local authorities to reconstruct his 17th century mansion in Chelsea. The cost of works is estimated at £ 10million, the entire project will last app. 3 years, after which, the Thames view will be blocked for many of his neighbors.
Most often, such applications are submitted on behalf of Russian and Arab owners. Someone tries to accommodate pools and spa rooms, walk-in wardrobes for winter and summer clothing, a media-room and a wine cellar on additional floors, while someone needs place for a museum of vintage cars, a night club, a tennis courts and an underground parking.
Requirements to high class properties are constantly growing. To meet all requirements of prospective buyers, developers are looking for unusual properties with potential for reconstruction. The recently completed reconstruction of a church in Knightsbridge can be cited as an example: it was transformed into a private residence with 12-meter high ceilings, equipped with a pool, a hot tub and gold plated. The estimated property price is currently £ 50million.
As we reported in one of our previous reviews, it was decided to lease out the famous Big Ben to cinema companies. Now, anyone can stay at Buckingham Palace – to rent a two-bedroom suite next to Her Majesty Queen of the Great Britain. Breakfast is included in the room rate; guests are allowed to stay with pets. This pleasure will cost £ 10,000 per night “only”.
As we wrote in our last report, experts predict a steady year for the Central London real estate market; the average rate of price growth will reach 10%. Real estate prices in Westminster (inc. Knightsbridge, Bayswater, Belgravia, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Hyde Park, Maida Vale, Mayfair, Marylebone, Paddington, Pimlico, St James’s, St John’s wood, Soho, Victoria, Westminster City) will grow by 25.6% over the next 2 — 3 years. A similar growth performance is expected in Kensington and Chelsea. Hammersmith and Fulham take third place with a forecast of 23.7%.
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The following sources were used during the preparation of this report www.propertywire.com, www.hometrack.co.uk, www.cbre.eu, www.rightmove.co.uk, www.thisismoney.co.uk, www.moneywise.co.uk, www.prian.ru, www.knightfrank.com, www.rg.ru, www.daylymail.com, www.euromag.ru, www.londonlovesbusiness.com .