Foreign purchasers dominate Central London exclusive property market

9 January 2015

International estate agents Knight Frank has issued figures demonstrating that during the two years to June 2013, 69% of such new build homes were bought by non-British buyers.  Further, almost half of the buyers were not resident in the UK and thus many of the homes left empty. 

Ironically, the architect Frank Gehry who was charged with the design of 800 homes behind the Battersea Power Station promised "humanistic environments that feel good to live in" but with a large percentage likely to be owned by foreign nationals and without any affordable or social housing being allocated to this phase of the development, it is likely that a large proportion of the apartments will be left empty. 

The chief executor of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, Rod Tincknell, states in the BBC report "You can't stop investors buying, but even if they do they're going to rent these properties out because people will want to live here".  However, many foreign investors simply use their London accommodation as a pied-a-terre and do not want the bother and inconvenience of renting properties out.  Despite acknowledging the perception problem of empty homes, this is a phenomenon that is likely to continue to be a feature in London property hotspots.

Overall, the Battersea Power Station development has only a 15% stipulation for affordable and social housing, thus providing little comfort to young buyers eager to step onto the housing ladder. 

Whilst this trend affects the prime central London locations, Knight Frank assert that for inner London as a whole, more than 79% of new homes are purchased by UK residents with the number rising to over 93% for outer London. 

With London's population growing by 100,000 each year, it shares with the rest of the UK a shortage of new housing.  Statistics such as those quoted in the BBC report will do little to alleviate the concern that Londoners are being priced out of their market.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a property in a prime London location please contact our Exclusive Property Department for a free no obligation quote on 01245 343998 or email