News / Europe

Super Wealthy Foreigners Boost London Economy

Multimedia

Henry Ridgwell

London has long been one of the first stops for the world's super-wealthy.  The recent global economic downturn, however, saw the foreign investors go quiet.  Now after two years of holding back, they've returned with a vengeance, buying up luxury properties in the British capital.  Russian oligarchs are competing against Middle Eastern royalty and Nigerian oil executives for a slice of the London market.

In the garden of a $14 million mansion, the gentle sounds of the fountains make this spot seem a long way from the city.  In fact it's just a few miles to central London.  Real estate agent to the super-rich, Trevor Abrahamson, says properties like this have helped lift the London market.

"Essentially, London leads the world," said Abrahamson.  "In fact, if you look at New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, the south of France - at the higher end those markets are taking much longer to recover."

Prime Properties

The property that's attracting most attention has the prestigious address of One Hyde Park.  It's a strikingly modern development set among the grand Victorian buildings of west London.  A penthouse here recently sold for a British record of $220 million.  The buyer's identity is kept secret but the agents report huge interest from the Middle East and Nigeria on the back of high oil prices.

The property is equipped with bullet proof glass, an air purifier to prevent poison gas attacks, and a panic room - features designed to appeal to security-conscious foreign buyers.

There's also an underground tunnel to the neighboring Mandarin Oriental hotel where the staff are on hand 24 hours a day, and the local shops include luxury department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

Trevor Abrahamson says that alongside the traditional buyers from the Middle East and Russia, new investors are opening their wallets.  "We've had almost every nationality.  The newest has been China.  We've had some serious enquiries, literally 50 or 80 million pounds sterling for a single property."

Competitive Shopping

A recent survey of luxury goods in London showed an increase in prices for the first time since 2007.  The cost of fine wine and caviar has soared by 25 percent in a year.  Ronnie Armist is director of investment advisors Stonehage, which conducted the survey.  He says the weakness of the pound plays a big part.

"That has definitely attracted foreigners to the UK, and to London in particular, which is one of the great capitals of the world as we know," said Armist.  "They would add, to some degree, to the demand for these luxury items.  We're talking in particular things like sporting events, Wimbledon, or grouse shooting, or the Royal Opera House and other cultural events."

In the competitive world of wealth, there's one potential trophy that's made all the headlines.  Regent Street is one of London's most famous shopping districts and owners Crown Estates have put it up for sale.  Total price is estimated at $2.5 billion.  It's reported that various sovereign wealth funds - including the Qatari royal family - have been eyeing the deal.

For most people in Britain, the long struggle out of recession goes on, with high unemployment and slow growth.  They can only look on with envy as the super-rich return to London ready to spend some serious money.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid