Indian billionaires ploughed 1 billion pounds into London mansions in the last 18 months

We've had Russians, we've had Qataris - the latest wave of billionaires coming to London is Indian, an estate agent says.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Jun 2014

Much was made of London’s ‘safe haven’ status during the recession: as the sky fell on Greece, its shipping magnates flooded into London to put their money in bricks and mortar, whose price has barely dropped since just after the war. Basically, London is one big, brick bank vault.

The latest wave of billionaires rushing to secure their cash in London property is coming from India, suggests research by posh estate agent Wetherell. Indian investors have put £1bn into London’s property market over the last 18 months, making them the second-biggest group of buyers in the prime central London market (after Brits, natch).

Apparently, Indians prefer St Johns Wood, Belgravia and Mayfair – and while Brits made 30% of property purchases in Mayfair in 2013, Indians made 25%. Middle Easterns, Europeans and Russians each have a 13% share of the market, Wetherell reckons.

The slight problem for London’s market at the moment is its rapidly depleting currency advantage: London used to be safe and relatively cheap – but that’s changing fast. Sterling hit $1.70 for the first time since 2009 yesterday. Now it’s just safe – but for a lot of investors, that’s enough.

Still: hilariously, Peter Wetherell, Wetherell’s founder (obviously), reckons Indians have chosen to invest in Mayfair because ‘they can see that currently the district is undervalued compared to neighbouring locations such as Knightsbridge and Belgravia.’ Well – that, or Knightsbridge and Belgravia are vastly, vasty over-valued. Whatever.

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