Since 2009, more super-prime properties have traded hands in London than in any other city – will the bubble burst? Bloomberg’s Stephanie Baker speaks with Giles Hannah, Senior Vice President at Christie’s International Real Estate, James Taylor, Project Director for Clarges Mayfair at British Land, Camilla Dell, Managing Partner and Founder at Black Brick Property Solutions and James Cooksey, Head of Central London for The Crown Estate. They speak at the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit in London.
Experts say there has been a spectacular rise of a number of Africans in London – including those from South Africa – investing in London property. One leading estate agency claims London property purchases from Africans has risen as much as 400 per cent in the last year. Our UK correspondent Dan Whitehead
We are thrilled to have taken home gold in the “Best Buying Agent” category at the Estate Agency of the Year Awards 2014. The esteemed event, that celebrates the very best in estate agency, took place at The Lancaster Hotel on Friday, 5th December and was sponsored by The Times and The Sunday Times.
Wealthy Nigerians spent over $390 million on property in London over the last 3 years according to new research. They are the biggest spenders out of the whole Africa – who, as a continent, spent over $938 million.
“The most expensive property we’ve ever sold to a Nigerian is actually a transaction we’re in the middle of working on at the moment,” says Camilla Dell, from Black Brick Property Solutions. “It’s a property in the region of £50million (or $78million).”
While buyers from Africa account for only 1.5% of transactions in the “ultra-prime” London property market, they make up 5% of sales by value – which is up from 2%. And this is by spending between £15million and £25million on each home. “I would like to buy in Mayfair,” says one Nigerian lady. “But unfortunately, I cannot afford to live there.”
The most sought after areas for Nigerians, in particular, in London are around Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Belgravia. Buyers include Africa’s richest man – Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman who has an estimated fortune of £16billion.
And the world’s richest woman – Folorunsho Alakija, is an oil tycoon, fashion designer and philanthropist based in Lagos, but is also a big investor in the London. She recently bought four apartments in One Hyde Park, the super-exclusive development in Knightsbridge. They’re running banks, oil and gas companies, telecomms companies and over the last ten or fifteen years have made a lot of money,” explains Camilla Dell.
But many Nigerians are suspicious of such large amounts of money being spent on such lavish property, outside of Nigeria. “You have to ask – where do they get the money from? Was it stolen money, because if you steal money from government or wherever – you want to live big,” says one man.
“Those places are for big, even bigger girls!” laughs one lady who cannot afford such property in London.
Louise Beale interviews Camilla Dell for Bloomberg News, reporting on the use of buying agents to secure homes in the central London residential property market, where demand outstrips supply.
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