Swiss franc crisis: Swiss go nuts for central London property as "safe haven effect" takes hold

Emma Haslett
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London property is seen as a "safe haven" for foreign investors (Source: Getty)

A fund which invests in central London property has reported an upsurge in the number of Swiss clients making enquiries.

The London Central Portfolio (LCP), a residential fund and asset manager, said there had been a jump in the number of enquiries from Swiss-based investors looking to move their money into London real estate in the form of its London property fund.

Central London residential property is seen as a notoriously dependable investment - in fact, it's often dubbed a "safe haven" for foreign investors looking for somewhere reliable to put their cash during a period of volatility in their own currency (cf. "Russia"). Here's how it's performed against gold - another go-to commodity for investors during times of crisis - over the past five years.

After the Swiss franc soared as much as 30 per cent against the euro yesterday following twin decisions by the country's central bank to remove its currency's cap against the euro and slash interest rates to -0.75 per cent, Swiss investors jumped at the chance to capitalise on their windfall - not to mention hedge against current global uncertainty - by investing in London property, said LCP chief executive Naomi Heaton.

A flow of ‘safe-haven’ seeking investors from Switzerland have already begun to focus on Central London, which has, in the blink of an eye, become substantially cheaper for them, against a backdrop of Swiss banks now charging customers -0.75% for holding their money. This may presage a new international investment dynamic in this market.

LCP wasn't the only company reporting a surge in enquiries: mortgage broker Tim Kemp, chief executive of Kemp Private Finance, also said he'd noticed an upsurge in interest from Swiss clients.

Overnight, Central London has become a much more attractive investment for my Swiss clients. I have already received numerous calls this morning from investors wanting to agree finance quickly to move their money out of Switzerland.

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