Asian property hunters drive up UK property prices

(CNA) – The number of homes in England and Wales owned by foreign buyers has nearly tripled in the past decade, as residents of tax havens and Asia have swarmed the Kingdom’s housing market United Kingdom (UK), fueling pricing concerns for wealthy foreign investors. Locals.

Ownership abroad is a controversial and obscure issue. Official data on the subject is limited, but an analysis by the Center for Public Data (CFPD), a non-profit organization, has shown the growing presence of foreign buyers in the UK market.

The analysis will do little to allay fears that foreign buyers may contribute to higher prices. UK house prices have fallen from an average of 167,500 GBP (306,700 SGD) in early 2010 to 264,000 GBP in August of this year, according to official data.

Nearly 250,000 residential properties in England and Wales are registered for people based abroad, representing around 1% of the total housing stock, up from less than 88,000 homes in 2010, according to CFPD, which used access to information requests to the HM Land Registry. to bring the analysis together.

Two-thirds of overseas purchases come from buyers based in just a dozen countries.

Hong Kong is the largest source of home buyers, with 23,524 homes in England and Wales owned by city residents – a sharp increase from the 2,170 homes in 2010. Buyers from Singapore and Malaysia are listed also high on the list.

Crown dependencies and tax havens, including Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands, are other important origins of buyers. The residents of these four territories alone own nearly 50,000 homes in England and Wales.

Almost 250,000 residential properties in England and Wales are registered in the names of people based abroad, according to the Center for Public Data (CFPD). PHOTO: AIIC

The increase in the number of foreign buyers is “in part a reflection of the significant levels of growth in global wealth, which seeks the relative stability of bricks and mortar, especially somewhere with a strong legal system like the UK “said Lucian Cook, Head of Residential Sector. search at the Savills real estate agent.

Many were likely to be investors who would inevitably create competition for domestic buyers, he added. Research by King’s College London has already shown a link between purchases by foreign companies, rising house prices and lower levels of home ownership by locals. London remains the main target for foreign investors. In the City of Westminster alone, more than 12,000 residential properties are owned overseas. Less affluent boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Newham and Lambeth also saw a sharp increase.

Overseas ownership has also skyrocketed in cities like Liverpool and Manchester, which have seen high rates of new development over the past 10 years. In Liverpool, it has quadrupled since 2010, with nearly 8,000 homes now registered for people based abroad.

Large new construction projects in these areas are likely to be a factor in high levels of demand from foreign buyers, which historically favored new homes, according to Cook.

An increase in the number of foreign buyers is likely to steer development more towards high-end apartments, he added.

Official data on foreign companies owning real estate in England and Wales has been released since 2017, but individuals are not tracked in the same way.

Foreign ownership “is a fundamental fact of the housing market and the government has introduced policies on this (such as a tax surcharge on foreign buyers), so it is important to have good evidence on this. But (to date) it hasn’t been so great, ”said CFPD founder Anna Powell-Smith.

The group recommends that the government set up a register of beneficial owners of property registered through foreign companies.

Ministers pledged to do so in 2018 in order to “bring new levels of transparency to overseas ownership of the UK property market”, but have since failed to implement it.

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