London still the Property Hotspot for Arabs

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Although GCC investors are scouring the world for bargain deals, London’s real estate market has continued to attract them in huge numbers.

London real estate
Despite other attractive real estate options, wealthy Arab investors still find investing in properties in London an attractive proposition. Photo: Nitenagel

According to Paul Preston, director and head of property investment company IP Global Middle East, London has earned the reputation of being a safe haven for property investors. Speaking to Gulf Business, he said; “Through the first six months of 2013 we have seen increased levels of investment (year on year) going into central London with transaction levels up almost 50 per cent.”

The city offers Arab investors a stable political environment, access to major financial markets and institutions, and world-class facilities within a secure setting. Further, the pound has lost about 20 percent of its value against the dollar, making London properties a lot more attractive to Gulf investors.

Traditionally, Middle East investors have invested heavily in the luxury apartments of Mayfair and Knightsbridge. However, investors are now also actively searching for properties in areas that are undergoing regeneration programs. These properties have garnered huge investor interest and are now increasingly forming bulk of the transactions from Middle East investors as they offer great value.

Buyers from the region are also investing in residential properties of other major cities, such as Chicago and Kuala Lumpur. These emerging cities provide full legal ownership to foreign investors and benefit from a strong tenant demand. A recent report named Jakarta, Indonesia as the best city for overseas real estate investment. The city was trailed by Australia’s Mackay and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Recently, Turkey also changed its law to encourage real estate investments by GCC nationals. As a result, the country has witnessed a sale of over 2000 units to Gulf investors over the last eight months.

Governments all over the globe are viewing real estate as a way to open up their economies, achieve diversification of their economy base, and attract foreign investment into the country.

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