The Flight to the Suburbs - Overseas Buyer Trends in London 2021

From the desk of our Private Office, Marcus Bradbury-Ross discusses some recent trends in what overseas buyers are looking for in and around London.

Overseas buyers of prime residential properties making a beeline for the capital is certainly not a new phenomenon. London is not only desirable because of the investment opportunities it presents, but the lifestyle, cultural and educational offerings are second to none.  

One trend we have really seen gaining momentum is that of Chinese buyers, purchasing in the £3-6M price bracket, taking flight to the suburbs. Suburban London can offer some rather commendable perks. Attractive price per sq ft, green space, quality schools, and a sense of additional security in American-style gated communities.

We have seen a spike in interest for locations such as Coombe Estate, Burwood Park and St Georges Hill whereby Central London is easily accessible, making these locations well placed for those wanting to experience the city atmosphere while living slightly further afield in a leafy suburb. A consistent need for our clients is a home, not just an investment, and they can achieve this via single family homes on private estates as opposed to luxury apartments with shared amenity space, a style of living that families have edged away from somewhat in light of the pandemic.

We think this trend to be further boosted by the recent changes to the British National Overseas (BNO) passport, whereby the UK estimates nearly three million people from Hong Kong and their dependents will be eligible to move to Britain for five years and apply for full citizenship, and it proves an ever-more attractive option. According to gov.uk, there has already been 27,000 applications (in the first two months of the new programme being active) submitted by those wishing to make a more permanent move to the UK.

While we anticipate interest in Suburban London to remain high, it is undoubtable that prime Central London residential will continue to be of upmost interest to Chinese buyers, particularly ultra-high-net-worth’s. We believe that pent-up demand in the super-prime market will lead to an increase in activity in the second half of 2021. This pent-up demand has been partially driven by both ongoing travel restrictions and an influx of money being changed into sterling back in Q3 2020, when there was a certain expectation that the UK would be opening back up for visitors. These buyers are ready to deploy capital for the right opportunity.