London is a cosmopolitan city that has built its success on immigration and international trade. Some 37% of all Londoners were born overseas. As long as London remains an attractive place to live, work, invest and learn, it continues to draw people from across the globe.
It is, therefore, no surprise that overseas-born buyers of all kinds are shaping London’s housing markets. This is particularly the case in London’s highly visible (but comparatively small) prime markets, where budgets are higher and purchasing habits dictated by discretion as well as need.
Reading some headlines, however, you may be forgiven for thinking that swathes of London’s housing stock are being bought absentee, buy-to-leave landlords from abroad.
These stories draw on figures on the very upper echelons of London’s housing markets – a tiny proportion of London as a whole. They also overlook London’s role as a global city and the people from around the world that choose to make London their home.
While non-UK buyers made up 40% of the prime London resales market in 2014, prime London accounts for just 8% of the total London residential market. Therefore, taking the market in its entirety, non-UK buyers of prime property made up just 3.2% of all London transactions in 2014. Of these, 84% were purchasing their main residence, a figure not dissimilar to UK buyers also active in the prime market, at 91%.