Harrods Estates’ prime central London office in Mayfair has reported a 400 per cent rise in sales to African buyers in the year to March 2015, compared with the previous 12 months and “the buyers are mainly from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa” says Giles Hannah, senior vice-president in London for Christie’s International Real Estate.
Giles confirms he has seen a 12 per cent rise in Africans buying in the £10m plus category over the past year, mostly in Mayfair, Lancaster Gate and Knightsbridge.
Central London’s residential used to be the focus of Russian, Middle-east and Chinese buyers, but a new influx of buyers and investors from Africa is now demanding attention.
“The majority are looking to spend between £2.5m and £6.5m on a two- or three-bedroom apartment, where they can stay when visiting London on business or for pleasure,” says Shirley Humphrey, director at Harrods Estates.
Beauchamp Estates says that, in the three years to late 2014, African buyers spent more than £600m on property it sold in central London. The majority of these buyers spend £15m to £25m each on a home and are from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal.
“Nigerians, in particular, have been longstanding purchasers, in the 1980s and 1990s, typically in north London – Hampstead, St John’s Wood and Primrose Hill. Now enhanced wealth has enabled them to move into Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, joined by purchasers from other west African states,” says Beauchamp Estates director Gary Hersham. He adds that Africans are also beginning to have an impact on the prime lettings sector.
“They tend to rent a luxury apartment in Mayfair, Belgravia or Knightsbridge for £2,500 to £5,000 per week or on a short let for £10,000 to £15,000 per week [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][and] stay in London for anything from six weeks up to three months,” says Hersham of his clients.
Of those from Nigeria – by far the largest group – 58 per cent have bought homes to live in and 42 per cent bought property as investments. They also demand privacy, with facilities such as a 24-hour concierge and extensive security.
News like this however depresses the ordinary Nigerian who is wallowing in poverty, joblessness and despondence. The Financial Times of London in its realty section, UK Property, alluded to the reasoning that most Africans that have snapped up these luxury British properties are oil-rich, business tycoons.
However, in the case of the Nigerians among them, given the looting and misappropriation of the Nigerian economy, even more so in recent times, they may well be politicians and civil servants whose source of wealth should be probed.
FT’s Graham Norwood also acknowledged that Nigeria’s economy has been hit by a fall in international oil prices from $100 a barrel to about $60. In addition, some African countries, notably Ghana and Nigeria, have seen their currency weaken against the British Pound thus making the London property purchases costlier.
Source: Financial Times | London[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]