Posh London homes lure prosperous desis

Tags: News

India Bulls bought 22, Hanover Square for £155m, Lodha two blocks for £396m

Steel baron Lakshmi Mittal may have rubbished media reports of local opposition stalling his bid to buy Britain’s iconic Saddleback mountain range in picturesque Cumbria, but back in London, nobody’s been able to stop him from owning a couple of the city’s most pricey homes in the plushest parts of town.

He isn’t the only one. Many more Indian billionaires are now adding an exclusive central London address to their assets, a rarefied region already colonised by the world’s uber rich, from Arab princelings to Russian oligarchs to Chinese capitalists. If the latest study by property consultants CBRE South Asia is anything to go by, Indian investors can now safely be added to that list -- they accounted for as much as 55 per cent of overseas investment in central London land and property purchase in Q2, 2014. In value terms, these transactions amounted to £241 million. Interestingly, in Q2 FY13, no Indian had purchased any land in this particular market.

India Bulls purchased 22 Hanover Square for about £155 million, the largest transaction in the second quarter. Lodha acquired New Court on Carey Street for £90 million in Q1 2014, and 1/3 Grosvenor Square for £306 million in Q4 2013. Both properties are to be converted into housing developments, with the Carey Street scheme set to deliver 148 new apartments, said Anshuman Magazine, CMD of CBRE South Asia.

According to the study, central London saw heightened activity from overseas investors, accounting for 53 per cent of uptake in Q2 FY14, as compared to 50 per cent a year ago. While Indians account for the lion’s share, the inflow from other Asian countries has been at 42 per cent, the study said.

“The interest shown by Indian investors has mainly been due to the greater return on value. With London’s real estate market having been a fairly stable investment destination, this trend indicates that Indian HNIs, leading corporate houses and local NRIs have taken advantage of a good investment opportunity where realty prices have bottomed out, and an imminent economic recovery is on the horizon,” Magazine said.

Indian investor interest, in particular, and overseas investor interest, in general, was supported by strong market fundamentals and the recovering UK economy. With the recent announcement by the office for national statistics, which declared that the country’s economy had grown by 0.8 per cent for the quarter — the fifth consecutive quarter of positive growth — the strength of the recovery was further underlined, the CBRE study said.

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