UK buyers dominate the West End property market

Ben Everest, partner at LDG, comments: “Whilst there has been a lot of talk about overseas buyers dominating prime central London, in the last three months we have seen strong demand from UK purchasers, a high proportion of which are looking for 1-2 bedroom properties. Low stock levels and a lack of quality instructions are the main factors driving the market forward. We really notice that the phones start ringing when we list a new instruction that is well presented and in a good location.  That said, vendors do need to be realistic about pricing; with the current economic difficulties, buyers are not willing to compromise and over-pay for a property that’s deemed slightly ‘secondary’.”

On the lettings side, however, it is a different picture when it comes to international applicants.  According to LDG’s lettings manager, Javier Carrillo, the demand for lettings is internationally dominated, especially by Greeks and South East Asians, with a high number of enquiries from Hong Kong Asians in particular. LDG’s statistics also reveal that there is a high proportion of 20-25 year olds looking for 1-2 bedroom properties ranging from £400pw to £600pw. Javier comments: “We are seeing a high number of international students who are attracted to the area due to educational establishments such as University College London (UCL), London School of Economics (LSE) and the University College Hospital (UCH). Such is the demand, that we tend to see at least 10 applicants per property, and approximately a two week time period for properties to be let.”

Ben adds: “The high interest from Greeks and Asian’s in the lettings market highlights the difference between the two markets in the West End. When it comes to buying, traditionally wealthy upper class Greeks have favoured Mayfair and the SW postcodes. If there is an exodus of middle class European money from the countries that are in economic crisis, such as Italy and Greece,  I think that Fitzrovia will be a prime target. It is already a popular and accessible location and forthcoming developments such as the Middlesex hospital site, the Saatchi Building and the Rathbone Post Office, will help Fitzrovia’s international image.”

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