By Sarah Townsend
Investors from UAE, Qatar cash in on weak pound at luxury London scheme
GCC residents make up one-fifth of buyers at Indian developer Lodha Group’s new luxury residential scheme in London, its director of sales has revealed.
Lodha UK claims to have sold more than 50 percent of the units in the first phase at its 200-home Lincoln Square development in Holborn, central London, due to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.
The 10-storey building is located within walking distance of the Royal Courts of Justice, Royal College of Surgeons, Kings College London and the London School of Economics (LSE), and its developer says the scheme is attracting wealthy students and professionals as well as other types of overseas investor.
Apartments at Lincoln Square range from studios to four-bedroom flats and there are communal facilities including a 25-metre pool, private dining room to seat 36, spa, gym, cinema room and snooker and games rooms.
Prices start at £900,000 ($1.1 million) for a studio and range from £1.75 million ($2.14 million to £2 million ($2.4 million) for one- and two-bed apartments, and rise to £2.25 million ($2.75 million) or higher for three- or four-bed flats and townhouses. There are also two penthouses.
Lodha UK director of sales Charlie Walsh told Arabian Business during a marketing trip to Dubai this week that of the 20 percent of GCC buyers to date, at least three-quarters are from the UAE, while the remaining quarter comprises mainly buyers from Qatar.
There are also a large number of investors from the UK, India and Europe, he said.
Walsh said the scheme was attracting a substantial amount of interest from wealthy UAE buyers with family in the UK. For example, he said, two of the larger apartments have been reserved by a Dubai-based buyer who is purchasing on behalf of his two grandchildren – one of whom has just completed his studies at LSE and the other of whom is hoping to attend LSE.
“We have seen a flurry of buyers from the Middle East over June, July and August, which corresponds to summer time when many such prospective investors are holidaying in the UK,” Walsh said.
“It is also shortly before the start of the academic year in September, when many parents are looking for accommodation for their children studying in London.”
Next on Lodha’s GCC marketing hitlist is Saudi Arabia, where Walsh said increasing recognition of the value of high quality education was driving an uptick in interest in young Saudis studying in the UK.
He also said that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union had prompted a surge of interest from GCC buyers seeking to cash in on the weak pound. “For Gulf buyers, UK property is between 10-20 percent cheaper due to the currency play,” said Walsh.
Lodha was initially forced to delay Lincoln Square’ UK launch this summer due to market uncertainty following the Brexit vote.
However, this uncertainty had eased and Lodha has seen renewed interest among UK buyers, who make up at least 50 percent of total sales, Walsh added.
Lodha UK this year secured a £78 million loan from investors Cain Hoy, representing one of the largest structured debt financings since the Brexit vote.For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.