Monday 23 May 2016 2:44 pm

Blame Brexit: International investors shun prime London property

The proportion of international buyers and sellers in London property fell in the first quarter of 2016, according to research released today, despite a fall in sterling making UK property relatively attractive.

The effect was strongest in central London, but there has also been reduced activity in overseas nationals across the whole of London.

The research from Hamptons International suggests uncertainty about the outcome of the EU referendum in June has prompted international investors to take a more cautious attitude to the London property market.

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The proportion of non-UK buyers in London fell to 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, from 32 per cent at the same point last year, and down from a five-year average of 30 per cent.

Prime central London was hit hardest, with the proportion of buyers falling to 47 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 compared with 54 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.

Buyers from the EU seemed particularly unenthusiastic about central London – the proportion of EU buyers fell to just nine per cent compared with 29 per cent at the same time last year.

Read more: Lloyds warns of Brexit uncertainties

Fionnuala Earley, director of research at Hamptons International, said: "Brexit uncertainties seem to be affecting London's property markets as international buyers and sellers become more cautious.

"The fact that the proportions of both buyers and sellers have fallen back seems to underline that this is an uncertainty issue. Both camps are unsure of how the outcome of the vote might affect the prospects for the London housing market, yet are not concerned enough to make any rash decisions and are willing to sit tight for more clarity."  

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