PCL Property Transactions to UAE Buyers Grow as Demand From the Middle East Increases
International interest from Middle Eastern buyers has increased significantly in prime central London’s property market, according to global property consultancy Knight Frank, as travel curbs for visitors from the UAE have been eased.
The strict travel restrictions, which have been in place since last year, have led to pent-up demand, with property sales in London to UAE buyers at their highest for some years, according to Knight Frank.
Footfall of Middle Eastern travellers through Heathrow Airport, the UK’s largest airport and the busiest in Europe, were up 55% month-on-month in August, Knight Frank said. Visitors from the Middle East increased from 134,050 in July to 207,680 in August.
Although still significantly below pre-Covid-19 levels, the recent increase shows international travel is returning to London.
This trend is being reflected in the number of prime central London sales Knight Frank has recorded from HNWI in the Middle East. Knight Frank said buyers from the UAE have increased 47% compared with the same period (January – August) in 2019. The firm also said sales between January and August 2021 were already up 56%, compared with the whole of 2020 (January – December).
Moreas Madani, Partner in the Prime Central London Developments team and Global Wealth Ambassador at Knight Frank, said: “We have seen an influx of Middle Eastern investment into London over the last month, as changes to the travel restrictions have unleashed a huge wall of pent up demand. Sales to buyers from the UAE are already 56% above 2020 levels, with almost four months of the year left to go. As restrictions ease further, and Middle Eastern buyers become more comfortable with travelling again, there is no doubt we will be in for a bumper year of activity.”
Henry Faun, a Partner in the Private Office Middle East at Knight Frank, added: “This is a huge vote of confidence for London’s property market. Typically high net worth buyers from Hong Kong are the early movers, followed by those from the Middle East. However, what we’re seeing is Middle Eastern buyers hungry to get back to business. Many have used their time well, taking advantage of the lockdowns and restricted travel to do their research, scope out what is on offer and be ready to move as soon as travel resumes. With the UAE now off the Government’s ‘Red List’, a year’s worth of pent-up demand is being released – and phones are ringing off the hook.
Faun continued: “One of our Middle Eastern clients arrived in London recently with £30 million ready to invest. Within two weeks, they had made an offer and exchanged on a property. This story isn’t unique, and demonstrates the level of pent-up demand we’re currently seeing being released into the market.”
There are several prime developments in central London that have been catching the eye of Middle Eastern investors.
No.1 Grosvenor Square, a development by Lodha, is one such scheme where Knight Frank says enquiries have spiked since travel restrictions eased earlier in the summer.
The development has been popular with buyers from the UAE. It boasts world-class concierge services delivered by Lodha’s hospitality group Saint Amand; embassy-level security, including biometric access; a valet-operated automated parking system; and host of outstanding on-site amenities including wellness services, members club, cinema, business suite and 25-metre swimming pool. Prices at No.1 Grosvenor Square start from £9 million.
Tom Clabburn, Senior Manager for Sales at Lodha UK, said: “Over the last 18 months we have seen the concept of ‘home’ become ever more important to ultra-high net worth individuals, not just in terms of space, but in terms of quality and service within that space. As travel has opened up there has been a large influx enquiries from international buyers, particularly from the Middle East. Recent events have reduced buyer’s willingness to compromise as buyers accept only the very best product and service; No.1 Grosvenor Square is able to deliver on both fronts through our work with world-class designers and in-house concierge team, Saint Amand, managed by Lodha.”
Another popular development currently on the market in prime central London is Almacantar’s The Bryanston, Hyde Park.
Designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, The Bryanston nestles between three Royal Parks and sits minutes away from Selfridges and the preeminent shops, restaurants, and hotels of Park Lane and Mayfair. The design takes in superb, panoramic views of Hyde Park; the curvature of the building and large panoramic windows is specially designed to maximise the views, giving the impression that you are suspended above the park. Prices at The Bryanston start fromt £2.4 million.
Lottie Geaves, Sales Manager at Almacantar, said: “We have known there is considerable pent-up demand from the Middle East for over a year, and this valuable change in travel regulation will finally unleash it. Buyers have remained reasonably active since the start of the pandemic and embraced digital viewings, however, it’s clear that most want to see completed properties in real life as they commit to a purchase in London. We are seeing encouraging levels of enquiries, and I expect the coming months will be dominated by eager buyers from the Middle East looking to invest in the capital.”
80 Holland Park is also receiving interest from UAE buyers.
As the latest residential scheme by Christian Candy, 80 Holland Park is a truly bespoke development of only 25 apartments. Located within one of London's most fashionable neighbourhoods, residents of 80 Holland Park have access to a range of private outdoor spaces as well as 5* amenities including; 24-hour concierge, underground car parking with electric charging points, 16.8-metre pool and a performance-driven gym designed by Olympic Triathlete, Tim Weeks. Two-bedroom apartments at 80 Holland Park start from £2.6 million
Madani concluded: “The global elite, in particular buyers from the Middle East, are attracted to these developments thanks to the quality of lifestyle, amenity provision and high levels of service that they offer. They provide the service, security and amenities one would expect from a six star hotel, but is still a private space that feels like home and can be returned to time and again.”
Knight Frank Middle East
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