£9.2bn-worth of property deals – mainly commercial – are reported to have been agreed between the UK and India following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Blighty. This, high-end London-based residential agency Rescorp says, heralds “an exciting new chapter” that will see Indian nationals become “one the most important buyers from the emerging countries in the near future”.
The firm, which has a prime North London bent, already counts 70% of its buyers as “international”, with 50% of these labelled as Indian after particularly strong growth over the last five years.
Land Registry figures indicate that in 2014 Indian buyers spent around £1bn on residential property in London, up from £450m in 2013 and £290m in 2010. Indian purchasers are now the second largest overseas buyer group of £5m+ homes in the capital. The UK, meanwhile, has accounted for 8.56% of total foreign direct investment in India during the last 15 years.
Narendra Modi, 15th Prime Minister of India
As India’s economy sets course to be the world’s third largest by 2024, Modi’s visit to Britain earlier this month – which was met with a lot of banners and hooting about human rights issues – shone a light on strong existing bilateral ties between the two nations, and saw business and political leaders from both sides pushing for more investment and even closer economic relations across sectors from insurance and finance to healthcare and energy.
London, Rescorp says, “features at the top of the list for Indians hoping to buy property abroad”, as “Indian buyers typically hold strong emotional, cultural and personal ties with the UK, whether they are were educated here, have family in the country or fall into the ‘staycation resident’ category and visit London two or three times a year.”
There’s been a shift over the last two years, with Rescorp reporting that more Indian buyers are purchasing homes for investment rather than personal use. Almost 60% of the properties the firm has been selling over the last 12 months to Indian buyers have been bought purely for investment purposes, with the majority of these investors originating from Delhi and Mumbai.
The first half of this year, however, was a touch quiet, as Indian buyers – along with most others – held back from making new acquisitions until the General Election fully cleared. Deals seem to be shifting along a little more now, and Rescorp believes that the Indian PM’s trip will serve “to re-ignite Indian investment into London’s property market”.
Modi called Britain India’s “entry point” into the EU, and claimed that India invests more in the UK than the rest of the entire European Economic Community put together. In 2014-15 the country emerged as Britain’s third biggest job creator, creating nearly 8000 new jobs, with investments from India increasing by 65% making it the third largest source of direct foreign investment.
Vic Chhabria, Director of Rescorp Residential: “I strongly believe that the property market will benefit hugely from this historic partnership between the two countries, which is set to act as a catalyst for multi-million investments into Prime central London. Indians are set to become one the most important buyers from the emerging countries in the near future and this positive collaboration will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both countries.
“Prime Central London has become one of the most popular destinations in the world amongst affluent Indian families who have snapped up properties in some of London’s important residential areas. St. John’s Wood, Mayfair and Marylebone are the most sought after addresses by our clients, with Indian buyers accounting for an estimated 15% to 25% of all sales annually in each district.
“The Indian buyer market in London has matured and become increasingly sophisticated and important. Now the market has expanded from family homes into the pied-a-terre and investment markets. Purchasers are typically from an affluent background and are looking to acquire an apartment that complements their busy social calendar. St. John’s Wood in particular is attracting a large group of Indian urban young professionals, who are typically 35 years old, have family wealth behind them and work in the City of London, primarily in the financial sector. They are usually looking to spend between £1.5m to £3m on an apartment providing two or three bedrooms.”
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