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Chinese lead overseas demand for prime London property
Brief:Stamp duty reform and May’s UK general election have not put off global property investors, particularly from China, says UK property buying agency.
Despite stamp duty reform and the looming UK election, international demand for prime London property remains strong – particularly from Chinese buyers, says one agency.

Just two weeks into 2015, the UK property buying agency, Black Brick, has signed new clients from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cyprus and the UK, with budgets varying from below £1million to above £10million.

A rise in the dollar against the pound has boosted buyers with US currency, while record low mortgage rates are encouraging domestic demand and the new stamp duty changes have had little effect , says Mayfair-based Black Brick.

Stamp duty reform and the impending election have not deterred overseas buyers and the short-term support of sterling’s recent weakness, particularly against the US dollar, has helped, the Managing Partner, Camilla Dell says.

“The 14% decline in the value of the pound against the US dollar since the summer is a significant boost to many overseas buyers with dollar assets. Meanwhile, the changes to SDLT are providing a welcome fillip to potential property buyers at lower price bands.

“Chinese interest in London property continues to grow apace. According to figures recently released by the government, the number of so-called ‘investor’ visas granted to Chinese nationals, ploughing at least £1m in the UK, doubled in the year to end-September. Chinese nationals accounted for 43% of all investor visas, the highest proportion of any country. It’s no surprise that we have seen continued growth in interest from this market.

Following restrictions announced on future development by the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London homeowners with large basement extensions will now be able to command a significant premium over neighbouring properties.

“The new rules, already signed off by the government and expected to be approved by the Council in early 2015, include a reduction in how far basements can extend under the garden, a restriction to a single storey extension in most cases, and an outright ban on basement developments under listed buildings.

“Kensington & Chelsea is the first Borough to limit so-called ‘iceberg’ developments, but others are expected to follow suit in central London, and this will make those homes that already have vast subterranean basement extensions extremely rare.”
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