22% of prime London properties purchased by overseas buyers without being seen

Real estate agency and intermediary for overseas clients, London Central Portfolio, said that it had experienced an influx of buyers since the end of the first UK lockdown, with many clients still unable or unwilling to travel, but happy to blind purchase properties in prime London locations.

As illustrated by the 21% increase in new tenancies by under-30s during Q3, London remains a highly in-demand global city, sought after by both young professionals, and high-net-worth investors trying to buy at bottom end of market pricing.

Commenting on the findings, LCP CEO, Andrew Weir, said: “LCP is a respected and trusted set of eyes and ears on the ground for our overseas clients. They trust us to identify market segments with good investment opportunities and to negotiate the best deals. We have been able to advise based on our intimate knowledge of the prime London market and our unique provision of a detailed financial model enabling our established clients to invest sight unseen.”

He adds that, “There are four significant calls to action which should not be overlooked”, including: he stamp duty holiday ending in March 2021, the anticipated 2% additional surcharge for overseas buyers in April, the added appeal of an attractive sterling exchange rate, and ‘most importantly’ the current discounted prices in the market compared to its peak in 2016.

These factors have created what LCP describe as a ‘unique buying environment’, which has also drummed up strong demand from family offices and investors looking to invest at scale, on sizeable prime London assets such as flat blocks.

The LCP statement adds on overseas demand for the capital’s property: “London continues to be viewed as a safe haven asset class benefitting from the rule of law, GMT time zone, prestigious educational establishments, a global business language and liberal culture. With the significant increase in purchases made via virtual viewings and evidence of pent up demand, 2021 may well see the beginnings of a rally in prime London similar to post Global Financial Crisis, where prices increased by 61% between March 2009 and September 2012.”

These rallies, funded by economic recovery and overseas capital as they may be, would be a betrayal of Boris Johnson’s ‘Generation Buy’ pledge. And while positive news for property market fundamentals, would ultimately represent the same failures in housing policy repeating themselves.