During the recent troubles in the Middle East the number of Egyptians enquiring about the most expensive addresses in London has risen. Just a few weeks ago an Egyptian family from Cairo purchased a £5million flat in central London without even viewing it. This seemed to be just days after the political unrest in Tahrir Square. They registered with a London agent and they then emailed them a brochure for the flat. They then went on to pay for the flat in cash. A spokesman for the agency in London explained that the buyers wanted to move their money to a place which they knew would be safe. The family intend on moving here in the summer so that their children can be enrolled here ready for the new school year.
The same agency has had eight serious enquiries from Egypt since the political unrest back in January. Between them they have looked to acquire more than £100million of London’s real estate and it is all to be bought with cash. Many would not be well known in this country but they deal in oil, land and clothing. Many of them want to spend around £20million on a house because they are worried about the banking system in Egypt and also they are unsure of the new government which has been appointed.
Another agent predicts that buyers from the Middle East will spend £2billion on residential property in Britain this year. They spent £1.15billion in 2009 and last year they spent £1.5billion. They are predicting this due to the political upheaval that has occurred in the last two months. Other agents have also seen rises in buyer enquiries from the Middle East in the last three weeks, they most tend to be looking in £500,000 to £3million bracket with them. Buyers from Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia are also looking too.
Just in the last few weeks a house in Eaton Square which is on the market for £28million has been viewed by a few Middle Eastern buyers. Whilst in Belgrave Square a £12.5million penthouse has just been bought by an Egyptian. Others are simply looking to rent and the area of Hampstead has had enquiries about £20,000 a week rentals in some of the properties there from Egyptians who want to rent immediately.
The Saudi Royal family are also looking. A Saudi princess has apparently been looking at a £60million house in Holland Park. The Saudi Royals tend to favour Mayfair when buying real estate but wealthy Arabs do like areas such as Knightsbridge and Regents Park as well. Lots of high end enquiries though tend to go through intermediaries based in London. Purchases are also usually made through off-shore companies. Colonel Gadaffi’s son Saif bought his Hampstead home in 2009 through Capitana Seas Ltd which is a company registered in the British Virgin Islands for £10million. He did try to sell the property last month for £10million but instead chose to let it out for £9,750. However agents are weary of having any dealings with anyone related to Libya due to the unrest there now.