I recently visited clients in New York to discuss opportunities and investments in the prime central London market.
The Buying Solution had a record year in 2022, our 19th year of business, and an important part of our success is overseas UHNW buyers from North America.
When I arrived in New York, it was clear that the City had undergone a significant transformation with many new buildings, parks, and other public spaces. For example, the Hudson Yards development, which opened in 2019, added a massive new complex of offices, residences, shops, and restaurants to the City’s west side. New York City has also seen improvements in transportation in recent years, with the expansion of bike lanes and the introduction of bike-sharing programs and new subway stations.
During my trip, I documented five key areas that USA buyers are considering when purchasing a house in London:
The market is in their favour
USA buyers can expect to pay less for a property in London compared with a few years ago. With stamp duty increases, Brexit and COVID, the average price for a property in central London is currently about 20 per cent below its peak in 2014. Also, in currency terms, the dollar is still relatively strong. However, buyers must act quickly to take advantage of the exchange rate.
London’s energy and culture
In a recent Financial Times article, I met with a wealthy buyer in Chiltern Firehouse – a restaurant and hotel in Marylebone. His family office was advising him to buy in Switzerland or Italy, but he sat with me, and the place was busy and vibrant. He said, “This is why I want to come to London. I may pay more tax, but life is for living”. He was right. London’s energy is difficult to beat – therefore, a move from New York to London means that a buyer does not experience a culture shock when they arrive – there is plenty to keep the family occupied. The food & beverage scene in London is second to none.
Discretion & safety
Privacy and security are top concerns for wealthy USA buyers, so features such as gated entrances, security patrols and ample outdoor lighting are some of the most essential. London is one of the safest cities in the world but security is still a concern and we have an excellent professional network to ensure our clients are comfortable with their new surroundings.
London is a design capital and is, therefore ideal for buyers looking for homes with unique architectural features, high-end finishes, and top-of-the-line appliances. In addition, design features like swimming pools, home theatres, wine cellars, private gyms, home technology and elevators feature heavily in London houses. Therefore, the types of properties desired by UHNW individuals can be found in London, if they are using the right buying agency.
Education & schools
The education system in London is strong and accommodates overseas students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It is relatively easy to relocate to London with children of all ages and expect them to hit the ground running with their educational goals. We can also advise clients on which locations in London offer the most popular schools and then what that local housing market looks like.
If you want to learn more about The Buying Solution and how we work with overseas buyers, please drop me a line.