Forget Brexit. Investors have been voting with their cash,
as London saw £5.6bn of inflows during the first six months of 2018. The fact that
the UK capital has attracted more investment, compared to other cities like
Munich, Paris and Frankfurt, shows that it remains the world’s top property
hotspot. A recent study showed that most of the investors came from Asia.
As if to further show that demand for a London property
remain strong, the vast Plumtree Court scheme owned by Goldman Sachs was sold
to the National Pension Service of South Korea. According to reports, the sale
price was a whooping £1.2bn. It was also revealed in the report that the
US-based banking behemoth will lease back the site for a period of 25 years.
When Plumtree Court opens in 2019 under new ownership, it will be the new European
headquarters of the US banking giant. In what seemed to be a confirmation of
the vote of confidence for London property investment, the vice-president of
Goldman Sachs, Richard Gnodde, said that their long lease shows their
unrelenting commitment to the UK capital.
A Bright Future
A huge influx of investments into London properties, coupled
with the commitment from Goldman Sachs, seems to invalidate the claims of
Remain advocates. It should be remembered that Remain campaigners repeatedly
made doom-laden warnings that Brexit will cause London to suffer dramatically and
that property prices would crash. Contrary to what they claimed, a report by
Knight Frank revealed London remains to be the top city of choice when it comes
to international property investment. At the very least, this fact makes a
mockery of their vision of Brexit doom.
Among the biggest property deals in 2018 were the purchase
by Ho Bee Land of a stake in Ropemaker Place, valued at £650m, and CK Asset
Holdings’ purchase of the ‘Groundscraper’ at 5 Broadgate for £1bn. Ho Bee Land
is based in Singapore while CK Asset Holdings is part of the empire of Li Ka-Shing,
the shrewd Hong Kong billionaire.
Asian investors dominated the investment scene, pouring a
massive £4.4bn into deals. In contrast, Paris trails with just £1.9bn in investment
This prompted the Head of City Capital Markets at Knight
Frank, Nick Braybrook, to declare that London has recaptured its place as the
most liquid property market in the world.
This is despite the chaotic political circus around Brexit.
Knight Frank revealed that the secret to the
appeal of London properties lies in its ability to remain stable in the face of
uncertainties, its transparency in all aspects, and, above all, its liquidity.
According to Baybrook, London tops the list for many wealthy individuals, when
it comes to making their first overseas property investment. Other multimillion
deals are the £300.5m purchase of Regent Quarter by Nan Fung, the acquisition
by Mirae Asset Management and Hines of 20 Old Bailey for £341m, and the
purchase by a Chinese consortium of the 40 Leadenhall ‘Gotham City’ building.
The report from Knight Frank also revealed that the five biggest property
market transactions in 2018 involved Asian capital. All indicators point that
this trend will continue in the years to come. This proves that the London
property market does have a bright future indeed.