Forget Londongrad, England’s capital has become a honeypot for tech gazillionaires from Silicon Valley – but who else is buying up the capital?
By Annabel Sampson
The Russians are out; European buyers have gone. So, who are the new super-rich buying in post-Brexit London? After the exodus of the oligarchs from the capital’s most desirable quarters – from the Boltons in Chelsea to Belgrave Square – you might have thought the odd multi-million pound trophy pad might sit derelict for a while. Not a chance – with a weak-ish pound, there’s a new set of super-rich making waves in London’s prime property scene. And it might not be who you expect: they come in sneakers, caps and sloganed tees. They can code, are fluent in AI and have a preference for Bulletproof Coffee. Yes, you guessed it: it’s the Silicon Valley billionaire brigade.
Bolstered by a strong dollar and keen for a close-to-Europe base, they’re arriving in droves. In super-prime London, according to research by estate agency Hamptons, American buyers in the most exclusive areas have increased from 2 to 7 per cent. Beauchamp estates, who dabble in the sale of the most luxurious properties, estimate that half the homes above £15 million went to American buyers last year (worth £620 million in total). But what about the others? Tatler introduces you to the new super-rich buying in London.
Silicon Valley Whizzkids
‘Intimate’ breakfasts at London institutions such as The Wolseley and The Colbert are being hosted by the likes of Sloane Street’s Tedworth Property in an attempt to woo tech-gazillionaires fresh from a long haul-flight. They’ve landed in London with a view to suss out the super-prime property market. ‘These are unlike the American buyers of years gone by,’ Rupert des Forges, head of prime central London developments at Knight Frank, told the Times. ‘The fortunes being made at such a young age is remarkable.’ While they’re notoriously private, it’s known that J Russell DeLeon, an online gambling billionaire, bought a four-storey, seven bedroom house near Notting Hill last year. In addition, we’ve got Meta execs settling in London (the likes of former deputy PM and now one of the highest ranking Meta executives Nick Clegg and Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, for starters). Like homing pigeons, at No 1 Grosvenor Square – the former US embassy – 10 of the 30 families who bought there were reportedly US tech leaders, often spending £30 million on the property in question.
The pharma dudes
Super jet-set and super far-flung: the ultimate example of this kind is Ernesto Bertarelli, the Swiss biotech magnate, who bought up an 80-room mansion in Belgravia in June last year. Ker-ching.
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Oil and gas tycoons
Oil is up, the pound is down – and the London property market is a solid investment. Camilla Dell, managing partner at Black Brick, told the Times, that she has a few Nigerian clients and inquiries from Africa and the Middle East were on the rise. They’re reportedly buoyed by profits from the booming oil and gas markets and the strength of the dollar against the pound. So where better to buy?
The wealthiest Indians – the Poonwallahs, the Ambanis – have long looked to London (and the UK) for its prime real estate. Lebanon’s billionaire Hariri family – of whom Rafic Hariri and his son Saad Hariri have both served as prime ministers of the country – last year sold their £19.75 million Cadogan Gardens mansion to another Lebanese tycoon. (It’s understood they are looking for an even larger London base in place.) And a Chinese property tycoon, Cheung Chung-kiu (whose property group CC Land also owns the £1.15 billion Cheesegrater skyscraper in the city), bought a 45-room mansion for between £205 and £210 million in 2020 – making it, at that point, the most expensive home ever sold in the UK.
When did the super-rich finance guys ever not buy up in super-prime London? Right now, they’re coming from all across the world as well as from home. Sir David Harding, a British businessman who made millions through his investment management company, the Winton Group, bought a seven bedroom house near Holland Park in July last year.
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