London's South Bank sees rush of UAE investors

Surge of interest from UAE in Q2 ahead of launch of new prime apartment building
London's South Bank sees rush of UAE investors
The luxury NEO Bankside development in South Bank, London.
By Andy Sambidge
Sun 09 Sep 2012 05:51 PM

London's best performing property market, South Bank, has seen a surge of interest from UAE investors in the last quarter.

The sales team at NEO Bankside, the neighbourhood’s first prime apartment building which is set to open next week, said enquiries from the UAE had rocketed during Q2.

Meriam Makiya, partner, London Primus, told Arabian Business: “We have seen a clear increase in the number of UAE-domiciled purchasers on the South Bank at NEO Bankside, including expats from Dubai.

"This could be attributable to London’s summer prominence on the global scene, or to the timing of the usual Middle Easterner London season. Another definite factor is the market’s realisation that the South Bank is now truly ‘prime’ – close to the City yet also to the West End – and that NEO Bankside apartments in particular have the Thames views they covet.

"The services are also of the 'five-star' level a Middle-Eastern buyer would expect.”

A total of 24 nationalities have bought at NEO Bankside since the scheme’s launch in 2008 with Middle East buyers representing nearly seven percent of all deals, according to new research by Knight Frank.

Overseas buyers represent nearly 50 percent of transactions at the luxury residential project.

The research report said that the South Bank property market has outperformed average prime central London over the last five years.

It said £1m invested in London’s South Bank in Q1 2007 would have been worth £1.435m in June 2012, compared to £1.36m if the investment had taken place in the wider prime central London market.

The NEO Bankside scheme has set new benchmark pricing for the South Bank, with maximum prices having hit well over £2,400/sq ft in 2011.

Knight Frank said this area of London was now in the same bracket as the likes of Mayfair, Belgravia, Notting Hill and Kensington - traditionally hotspots for Middle East investment.

Investor returns in the South Bank have also exceeded the wider prime central London market, with a 43.5 percent capital growth rate seen since Q1 2007, compared to 36 percent for the wider prime central London market, Knight Frank added.

Its research showed that the South Bank’s performance since the market revival in 2009 has seen annual growth over the past three years averaging 14 percent, with total returns averaging 16 percent.

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