The UK property market is the focus of considerable overseas investment, both residential and commercial. Indeed, it seems foreign buyers are shaping the future of Britain, especially in hubs like London. The government is aware of the powerful role international investment plays in the economy and the housing market too, with a recent trade mission to China working to attract yet more money into the country.
Investors from across the globe are choosing to invest in British bricks and mortar, whether through business or the acquisition and development of homes. European nations naturally play an important part in the economy, while the US continues to be one of the biggest investors, particularly when it comes to seizing corporate opportunities. July saw the Isle of Dogs experience an influx of US applications for space, with 15.5 per cent of demand coming from across the pond. This was an impressive 6.1 percentage point increase from June.
However, the changing global environment and the rise of developing economies has seen new groups of foreign investors come to the fore. Asian, Middle Eastern and Russian buyers are certainly turning their attentions to Europe and the UK in particular, taking advantage of favourable currency dynamics and the safe-haven status of London.
Singaporean investors have seen themselves placed in the spotlight following Oxley Holdings' acquisition of Royal Wharf. One of the largest deals of its kind, the group will turn the 40 acre site into around 3,400 residential units and a variety of commercial, retail, leisure and educational facilities. This will create an entirely new district for London and increase housing supply in the city.
Speaking about the deal, Alvina Tan, a spokesperson for Oxley Holdings, explained that London is an attractive place for Singaporean investors. "London is a world city. It's a melting pot of all cultures and is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world," she said. "We like Royal Wharf for its River Thames frontage and its close proximity to the existing DLR and future Crossrail station, as well as its easy international access via London City Airport. We look forward to the surrounding area being rejuvenated by APB’s planned transformation of Royal Docks into a business park, along with investments by ExCeL London, The University of East London and other prominent entities."
Ms Tan added that Royal Wharf has the potential for the area to be transformed into a town district, complete with affordable housing, schools and other amenities needed for "Londoners to enjoy an affordable, modern vibrant lifestyle".
Oxley Holdings' interest in London doesn't stop there either and Ms Tan claims the firm will "continue to explore opportunities in East London, which is less saturated than west and south London". The company expects the capital to continue to perform well, thanks to pent up demand for property. This is likely to continue to draw investors from Singapore to the city in search development and rental opportunities.
See more about the best places for property investment in London here
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been earmarked as an investment region for the UK. Mayor of London Boris Johnson told Gulf News in April that getting people from the region to invest in property will be important for the economy. Mr Johnson aired his commitment to increasing relations between the UK and UAE as part of a mutually beneficial relationship. He claims that the emirates can use British expertise for future plans, such as Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, while his country will be able to support growth through renewed investment.
Knight Frank Global Development Insight has also ranked the UAE as eighth in the world for new build investment. Buyers from the emirates particularly favour London over other locations, with the city ranking top among investors.
Russia is the third most important global investor for new build property and London tops its list of locations. Two and three bedroom properties will be the most popular, but prime real estate is likely to see the most activity. A forecast by WealthInsight predicted the number of individuals worth approximately GBP 18.9 million or more in Russia will increase by 37 per cent by 2016, creating greater demand for luxury property worldwide.
Russia is certainly becoming more affluent and Oxford University Press has confirmed that the country's GDP has approximately doubled since 1999. This makes it the fifth largest economy in the world and investors are trying to secure their funds by investing in UK property, according to Knight Knox international.
- Tuesday 07 January 2014