Sterling's slide spurs international buyers into looking for a London home

Helen Cahill
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London's houses now seem relatively cheap to overseas buyers (Source: Getty)

The slide in sterling since the Brexit vote has encouraged foreign buyers into the London property market.

The proportion of international buyers increased six per cent in the third quarter, as compared to the second, according to research from Fionnuala Earley, residential research director at Hamptons International. The proportion of international buyers now sits at 29 per cent.

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The mix of buyers has been changing, however. EU buyers are no longer as attracted to central London, with the proportion falling from 12 per cent in the second quarter to just six per cent in the third.

But Americans have been drawn to the centre of the capital, with the proportion of these buyers rising from one per cent in the second quarter to six per cent in the third quarter. The proportion of Asian buyers in central London has doubled to four per cent.

In prime central London, the proportion of international buyers increased by three per cent in the quarter, reaching 60 per cent. Hamptons said this showed that the most expensive part of the capital remains highly desirable, despite uncertainty about the UK's economy following the Brexit vote.

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The prime central London market has also been hit by the higher rate of stamp duty that former chancellor George Osborne slapped on high-end homes.

Rory Penn of prime London property agency VanHan said: “The fall in sterling over the last few months has led to increased demand from overseas buyers - but we don't envisage there will be any direct impact on house prices."

The increased interest from international quarters comes after London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was launching an inquiry into foreign home ownership in the capital. He wants to know the scale of foreign investment, believing that it is preventing Londoners from finding a home.

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