10 November 2016, International Business Times
There was lots of talk around the US presidential election that if the controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump won, as he did, many horrified Americans would up sticks and leave as soon as possible, with London likely a popular destination.
And if you are so minded, there are plenty of good reasons why, aside from fleeing the Trumpian tyranny: the shared language, a similar culture, London is a vibrant world city with great schools, and the US dollar is unusually strong in relation to sterling due to Brexit. But has in the wake of the election result there been a sudden spike in interest from American buyers looking at London? There’s little evidence to suggest so.
“We haven’t noticed any measurable increase in activity from US buyers,” Brendan Roberts, director at the estate agent Aylesford International, told IBTimes UK. “I think it’s highly unlikely to happen. Trump is president elect and until his policies are clear and understood, I don’t suppose we will see any great reaction in terms of Americans relocating.”
A spokesman for the estate agent Knight Frank there had been “no obvious change at this stage” in interest from US buyers in reaction to the election result. Similarly, a spokeswoman for the buying agent Black Brick said there had been no spike in interest from US buyers after the vote.
But Camilla Dell, managing director of Black Brick, said after the election that the firm is “likely to see some wealthy US citizens, particularly those most offended by Trump, move to the UK as some of our American clients hinted to us prior to this outcome.”
“Whilst we have seen a list of LA pop stars who vowed to leave the US if Trump was elected, to date this has not materialised,” said Alex Newall, managing director, Hanover Private Office, an estate agent. “We have seen a small number of the business elite from around New York making enquires for homes in London – particularly Prime Central London in areas such as Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair.”
A Trump-driven exodus may happen eventually, but it all depends on how much the reality of his presidency lives up to his deeply divisive campaign rhetoric. “We may not see an immediate move, as President elect Trump’s transitional team start their work, but already the markets have reacted badly,” said Charles Curran, principal at Maskells, a London estate agent, in the hours after Trump’s victory.
“However, our view is that there may be a small knee-jerk reaction to his win, but if Americans are to move to the UK in significant numbers, it will be after he has taken office and established what the relationship will be like between the Republican House and Senate.”
“As Donald Trump doesn’t take office until January, any increase in American buyers will be dispersed over the coming months,” said Nick Davies, head of residential development at Stirling Ackroyd. “However, the chronic shortage of properties in London means that any additional competition to buy or rent homes could push up prices.”
“It is impossible to know how a Trump government might affect the global economy and, in turn, the prime London housing market,” said Jonathan Hewlett, head of Savills London, an estate agent.
There is a more subtle sign of what may come than immediate calls to estate agents. Zoopla, the property listings website, said its web traffic from America on 9 November — the day after the election — was 45.3% higher than the average for the previous 30 days and 25.5% higher than the average for the past six months.
“With the outcome of the US presidential election result now behind us, early indications show that Americans may be looking at setting their sights on the British property market as the election result brings uncertainty for some,” said Lawrence Hall, spokesman for Zoopla.
“Unsurprisingly, London tops the list of the most popular search terms with American home movers over the last six months and several locations in the hotly sought-after Prime Central London market – including Chelsea, Hampstead and Marylebone – are some of the capital’s most searched for residential areas by Americans.”
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