Despite Brexit uncertainties, UK investment property companies continue to focus on the UAE market, report Cityscape Abu Dhabi organisers. “For many years, the UK market has been high on the investment list of UAE investors and the Brexit issue raises many questions for both existing and potential owners,” said Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director at Informa Exhibitions, which organises the event. UAE-based investors have remained unfazed by political developments in Britain, confirms Kevin Eyres, sales manager at Salboy, a major player in the UK property market. UAE investors, Eyres said, are knowledgeable, experienced and curious about the best way to expand their UK property portfolios. “The UK’s proven track record of delivering high-quality real estate products will resonate well with regional buyers,” he said. The firm is currently investing heavily in the regeneration of the UK city of Manchester as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative by the UK government to boost the local economy by investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture.
During Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which will run from April 16-18 at Adnec, James Lapushner, managing director of the real estate private equity and fund management company Anacott Capital, will be discussing the realities of UK real estate financing post Brexit. Phillip Hope, partner and head of real estate at London business law firm Fox Williams LLP Lawyers, will outline the changing landscape of the London investment market.
Global centre of wealth
London has shrugged off concerns regarding Brexit, continuing to flex its muscles as the global centre of wealth. The city provides safe investment, education opportunities and an incomparable lifestyle. Many of the world’s most prestigious schools and universities are found in London. It is a reliable place to do business and there’s a reason why 500 of Europe’s largest companies have their headquarters here and why a significant concentration of ultra-high-net-worth-individuals call it home. Meanwhile, in terms of lifestyle, there is really nothing quite like it with top museums, five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, trendy bars and exclusive shopping; London has something for everyone.
According to JLL, central London house prices will grow at 15.3 per cent over the next five years. Nick Whitten, residential research director at JLL, says, “London remains a safe haven for international capital with strong factors continuing to underpin it as a solid investment proposition for both domestic and international purchasers. A systemic failure to align housing supply with demand has led to more than 30 years of strong house price growth, exceeding many other asset classes. Meanwhile, Sterling is currently undervalued, but is expected to appreciate against the US dollar by up to 20 per cent over the next three years.”
Despite Brexit, and stamp duty land tax reforms, the global super rich have been taking advantage of the decline in the value of the sterling, which has resulted in a significant uptick in sales in the last few months. Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, CEO of ultra-prime developer Northacre, said, “Despite the UK’s expected imminent departure from the EU, we can confirm it certainly hasn’t put off foreign investors. There is increasing speculation that post Brexit the flood gates will open — those that were taking a ‘wait-and-see approach’ will release funds and London will see a significant influx of capital. We are wholeheartedly betting on Britain!”
Milestone year for Northacre
Northacre has entered a milestone year that will see 90 per cent of No.1 Palace Street apartments fitted out, including a show apartment ahead of its completion next year. Its second key development, The Broadway, will complete at the end of 2021. Despite potential Brexit challenges, the firm believes the allure of London cannot be underestimated with its credentials as a safe investment haven.
Battersea Areas such as Battersea are seeing a significant regeneration at the moment and are likely to offer returns for buyers in the future. Omer Weinberger, managing director of Avanton, developers behind the new residential development at Battersea that comprises 299 new homes, landscaped communal spaces and the new global headquarters for the Royal Academy of Dance, says, “London is a global city attracting interest from around the world from those looking to work, learn and live in the city, meaning there is always a demand for homes. Because of London’s status as an international hub, it offers wonderful opportunities for investment, particularly in areas like Battersea.”