Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.
Americans snap up London property
UK firms find the number of Americans buying UK property is on the rise
Are you hearing more American accents in London? If so, you may be noticing a trend. UK firms are beginning to highlight growth in the number of American clients they work with, particularly with regards to property in the capital.
The latest firm to report on this trend is Black Brick. "In the last year we have seen a big jump in our US client base," says Caspar Harvard Walls, Partner at Black Brick. "While most have either been travelling to London extensively for business reasons, or are looking for a second home, the exchange rate has been a significant motivating factor." Harvard Wells goes on to suggest that "With London capital values falling 15-20%, US buyers can find themselves paying 40% less for prime property than at the top of the market". Camilla Dell, the firm's Managing Partner, explained "Our US clients are not put off by Brexit or the threat of a Corbyn government; instead, they view the market as a good buying opportunity. Our largest transaction for a US client – over £20 million – was because he had decided to relocate to London and run his technology business from here. After Silicon Valley, London is the next best place for IT entrepreneurs. We have the infrastructure and talent to be able to support companies like this." "Trump may, of course, be another factor,” says Dell. “While our clients don’t tend to share their political views with us, some of our US clients have wanted to diversify outside of the US, as well as have a bolthole in Europe."
This growth in American buyers was also echoed by Martin Bikhit, Managing Director of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Kay & Co. The firm recently joined the Warren Buffett behemoth Berkshire Hathaway, becoming a point of contact for the US firm in London. Bikhit, speaking to The American, explained that for his company, "US tenants make up about 41% of our business. This is up from about 35% two years ago. On the buying side 24% of our buyers over £10m are now US based. Previously they were in single figures. I put this down to the fact that US buyers are now value here compared to before and the ones that I have spoken with agree a bounce is on the cards post Brexit."
Daniel Daggers, a partner at real estate agents Knight Frank, also recently wrote in March that "The US buyer has started to reappear in the super prime market in London, accounting for close to £250m of deals in the past two months." Daggers goes on to say that "I am now hearing from a number of our UHNW clients (US $30m+) that, having worked for many years to get themselves into this position, they want to utilise their time and wealth to experience more of the European culture - both through travel and the purchasing of property".
After President Trump's UK State Visit last week, the talk of a trade deal between the UK and USA was back on the table. It seems the Special Relationship is already heating up the London property market.