By Isabelle Fraser
Indian buyers are pouring into central London’s lethargic high-end property market after a change to how much money they can take out of their home country.
Buying agency Black Brick said that 13pc of sales it has done this year have been to Indian buyers, up from 2.6pc in 2015/16.
Separate research by Cluttons found that between August 2016 and July 2017, Indian buyers accounted for 22pc of the sales in prime central London, made up of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, up from 5pc in 2012.
This is partly due to changes in the Reserve Bank of India’s regulations of how much money can be taken out of the country. The so-called liberal remittance scheme was adjusted in 2015, meaning that a family of four can take out $1m, while previously it was only $400,000. Camilla Dell, managing partner at Black Brick, said: “It means that a family of four, after one year, will have $1m to spend, and after two years $2m. It quickly adds up, and explains why a lot of our Indian clients are buying in the £1m to £2m range.”
Property in central London is very attractive to foreign buyers as prices have been falling due to an oversupply of luxury flats and affordability issues. Prices of these luxury homes are 15pc lower than in September 2014, according to Savills. Coupled with the fall in sterling, some international buyers can buy homes for less than they could two years ago.
Black Brick’s Indian clients are split between investors, who largely want to buy new build flats in Shoreditch and White City, and owner-occupiers looking in Mayfair.
Becky Fatemi, managing director of estate agency Rokstone, agreed: “The most popular address for Indian buyers is Mayfair – where the most sought after addresses are Grosvenor Square, South Audley Street and Hill Street. The other alternatives for them are St James’s and Belgravia.” Ms Dell added that she is currently working with a Bollywood actress to buy a London home in Marylebone, Knightsbridge or Mayfair.
According to Black Brick, other big international buyers include those from the Middle East, France, Nigeria and Russia.