- Since 1999 offshore companies have bought more than £150 billion worth of property in England and Wales
- 73% of the value of the deals related to residential premises, while investment was UK-wide
- Investment levels currently strong from regions such as Southeast Asia and South Africa, where devaluing currencies and economic uncertainty has encouraged investors to diversify their portfolio
A strong pound, a diverse product range and high returns has helped the UK property market to be a popular sector for international investors, with the interest showing no signs of slowing down.
In the last 15 years, offshore companies have bought more than £150 billion worth of property in England and Wales, with the latest Land Registry data showing that many of the UK’s most expensive buildings were bought by international investors.
The research covered analysis of 96,440 transactions by 35,922 companies registered by the Land Registry since 1999. According to the Office for National Statistics, 73% of the value of these deals related to residential property, in addition to commercial real estate.
In one central London street, for example, 149 homes were owned by offshore companies. But although the UK capital has long been popular with international investors, popular postcodes outside London include those in regions such as the north-west of England and Yorkshire, highlighting the country-wide demand for British property.
The interest from overseas has been particularly profound since the start of the year. In Southeast Asia, for example, uncertainty surrounding the Chinese economy, has driven many investors in key destinations such as Hong Kong and Singapore to look for high returns and stability elsewhere. Indeed, UK Prime Minster David Cameron recently outlined the potential of the Northern Powerhouse to investors in the Far East.
That need for asset diversification has also reached other countries around the world. In South Africa, for example, a rapidly devaluing rand has prompted more investors to purchase property in the UK, historically South Africa’s largest booking centre for offshore investment.
Furthermore, the increased demand among overseas investment institutions for UK property is starting to lead to more developers creating products designed specifically for these investors.