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Singapore buyers 'invading' London

By Romesh Navaratnarajah:Local property hunters are showing more interest in buying properties in central London, with analysts pointing to rising rents and good capital values as contributing factors.  

A Straits Times report highlighted that Singaporeans accounted for over 3.5 percent of recent deals in London's residential market. Several industry watchers said this figure could grow as more London projects are set to be launched in Singapore over the next few weeks.

Charles Leigh, CBRE's Senior Director of central London residential development, said there is a growing number of property investors in the region looking to invest in central London.

"Southeast Asian buyers account for just over 10 percent of the entire central London market, and that figure is almost 15 percent if you include mainland China," he said. "The figure for new developments is substantially higher still, and just over 30 percent."

He said that based on recent data, Singaporean buyers account for between 35 and 40 percent of all transactions from Southeast Asia.

Gavin Sung, Head of Residential Development Lettings Investment at Savills London, said Singaporeans and Hong Kongers accounted for the largest volume of investors in the London property market last year.

"A Singaporean investor can purchase a property with 30 percent cheaper values between height of peak and now due to the weakness of the pound," he said. "This, in addition to all of the other pull factors of London, has significantly highlighted interest in increasing amounts from Singaporeans."

For instance, a Singaporean buyer who wanted to be known as Mrs Yong acquired a one-bedroom unit at Baltimore Wharf in Canary Wharf in February when the project was launched in the country.

She is now renting out the property and estimates that the rental yield could be between four and five percent, adding that she acquired the property because her son is studying in London.   

"Eventually, if he wants to stay there, he can," she added. "I think it's quite safe to invest there because it's very transparent, and there are not a lot of restrictions. And of course, the pound is cheap." Related Stories: Chinese property developers target Singapore buyers

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