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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
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 Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied 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 at the Union League Club 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.

AppleAndroid