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London prices drive investors abroad

30th January 2007 | back to article listings BACK    print this article PRINT

The boom in London property prices coupled with excessive demand for accommodation in the capital is forcing high-earning property investors to look overseas to add to their real estate portfolio, according to new research.

This year saw record City bonuses totalling an estimated 9 billion but the lack of supply of London property on the market forced many high fliers to widen their horizons when it came to spending their hard earned cash, report experts at the Homebuyer Show.

Many estate agents in the swanky City and Docklands area of London had less than ten properties for sale at any one time at the end of the year, an all time low for such a lucrative market.

This meant that some 4 billion worth of bonuses were invested abroad with property buyers spending their cash as far a field as Dubai, Bulgaria and the US as well as the historic British favourites of France and Spain.

Nick Clark, managing director of Homebuyer Events, said: "We will also see considerable investment taking place in Europe, both in traditional countries like France and Spain as well as the emerging markets of Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary."

But property investment overseas is increasingly within the financial capabilities of small-scale investors, who are not lucky enough to enjoy a bumper Christmas bonus.

The growth of low-cost transport links to the Iberian peninsula has not only made it easier for middle-earning Brits to enquire into investments but also inspires jet-to-let investors who are looking to cash in on the country's strong tourist demand.

Ian Smith, head of European operations at Halifax, insisted that Spain is not just a destination for the Posh and Becks couples of this world.

"The demand from British people for property in Spain has not only been fuelled by the high demand for low rate Euro mortgages, but also by the boom in low-cost, budget airlines," he said.

"Many people now realise that owning property in Spain is a real possibility."

Earlier this month, currency specialist HiFX found that despite increasing competition from emerging markets, especially in the east, Spain still managed to top its buyer enquiries.

Although buyers are not seeing the dramatic price increases of five to ten years ago, Spain has now a mature property market that is less likely to be affected by the extreme highs and low as has been experienced in eastern Europe.

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