9 December 2014, Battabox
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.