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The overseas buyers snapping up UK homes

Guaranteed rent – The overseas buyers snapping up UK homes

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Cash-rich foreigners from Russia, the Middle and Far East have long been flocking to London to snap up luxury homes but they are not the only ones buying in good old Blighty. Looking across the country, who are the overseas buyers keen on a British address?

Property website PrimeLocation.com has done a study on the top 100 nations from which British residential property is being searched for. English-speaking nations lead the field with the US, Australia, Canada and Ireland all in the top five.

US residents (including both British expats and American nationals) come top, representing over a fifth of the total number of searches conducted from outside the UK during 2011, while Australians account for almost one in ten searches, followed by Canadians (7%) and the Irish (5%).

Some of the searches come from places that many British people may not even have heard of including Réunion, Djibouti, Suriname, Kiribati, Mayotte and Niue.

The UK is clearly an attractive location for international buyers from a business, education and property investment point of view. This explains why 14% of all UK property searches on PrimeLocation.com originate overseas. Many wealthy Asian families, for example, buy flats for their offspring when they come to study here.

Property play
But others see a UK home purely as a property play, particularly in London. Economist and journalist Will Hutton recently bemoaned this on BBC radio, when he talked about how the area in west London where he lived when he was younger had changed completely. In some streets you won’t see any lights go on at night as no one lives there for most of the year, and the boozer pubs where he used to drink have all been turned into posh gastropubs.

Demand from foreign buyers has driven up house prices, making some areas of London unaffordable for locals. Those who bought at the right time, however, will have seen the value of their homes shoot up.

Nigel Lewis, property analyst at PrimeLocation.com, says: “London leads the charge here and in recent months many agents have reported up to 60% of buyers hailing from overseas, which has helped drive up demand and therefore prices in central London exponentially and by 7.37% over the past year­ alone.”

“Many British expats are also likely to be keeping an eye on the UK property market with a view to one day returning to live in the UK. P­­­­­­­urchases of UK residential properties by overseas buyers have been increasing over the last few years and we expect that this interest will remain undiminished going into 2012.”

Philip Green, director of estate agent Goldschmidt & Howland agrees: “We deal with a large number of American clients looking for London property so it’s no surprise to me that they are high up on this list.

“There is a strong demand for property surrounding International schools and The American School and it’s particularly buoyant in the rental sector. This is equally the case for Australians. Most of the prime homes being bought by non-Brits in London are Russians buying at the top end and Chinese looking for investment properties but they aren’t buying in large enough numbers – just very high prices instead.

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Source: http://money.aol.co.uk/2012/03/05/the-overseas-buyers-snapping-up-uk-homes/

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