By Mitch Lewis
In a recent article, Mansion Global declared London “the most desirable city in the world for high-net-worth individuals buying luxury homes,” despite the upcoming Brexit and less-than-favorable sales tax rates. Why is London so appealing to high-end buyers? Let me count the ways …
1. Cultural Experience
Stroll through one of London’s iconic museums, take in famed art at a plethora of famous galleries, enjoy a musical on the West End, listen to the Big Ben chime, participate in a twilight tour of the Tower of London, eat at a world-class epicurean hot spot … When it comes to culture, London is never lacking and the richness of the city is drawing high-end buyers in droves.
2. Ease of Doing Business
Forget the favorable dollar-to-pound exchange rate (or don’t) but there’s no denying it’s easy to get business done in London. A longtime economic hub, wealthy financiers are lured by the global appeal of the city, while a navigable regulatory environment incentivizes both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs seeking to launch and operate a local firm.
3. Educational Opportunities
London is a leading center for education, with one of the largest populations of overseas students out of any city in the world. It’s also a premier locale to study the arts—with four major music conservatories and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to its name—as well as economics, home to the London School of Business and Management and Regent’s College. For high-end buyers seeking to learn, London is the ideal spot to grow wealth … and knowledge.
4. Growth of Uber-Wealthy Sector
By most expert accounts, London will be home to even more high-net-worth individuals in the coming decades. “The forthcoming Brexit process will not result in an outflow of wealthy individuals from the U.K.,” Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, said in a recent report. “Rather, it will mean that existing high-net-worth individuals will be more likely to remain and indeed to be joined by a growing list of new arrivals.”
5. Green Credentials
It’s no surprise high-end buyers also want to go green with their expansive properties and London is the ideal spot to find an environmentally friendly estate. In fact, in the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index compiled by infrastructure consultancy firm, Arcadis, London placed 9th for its environmental sustainability, due in large part to more than 3,000 parks and green spaces in the metro area and an emphasis by local government officials and organizations on improving infrastructure to decrease toxic air quality levels. This same commitment to sustainability can be seen throughout many of London’s most luxurious and eco-friendly properties.
6. Diminished Effects of Brexit
Yes, Brexit uncertainty is contributing to a slowdown in the number of real estate transactions but in most of the UK it is having little effect on house prices, as homebuyers are continuing to move for the usual reasons – marriage, an expanding family, a new job, etc. Falling prices at the top end of the market are primarily related to the increases in stamp duty. London’s prime market has been particularly impacted although international buyers are finding the fall in the UK£ against other currencies is creating opportune buying conditions.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, our international franchise sales team also sees the strong appeal of London; the city ranks high on our list of potential entry markets as we expand abroad. And whenever we do establish a presence in London, I have no doubt our brand will appeal to high-end London buyers as much as the dynamic city itself.
MITCH LEWIS is the managing director of EMEA for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Find him on Facebook here.