UAE investors are as likely to chase bargains in London realty

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Not all investors in the UAE are chasing bargains on off-plan property in Dubai — some are instead heading off to London for options there. And the lucky ones have already landed a few good deals.

Faisal Durrani“Since Eid, we have had quite a bit of surprising activity from buyers based in Dubai and Sharjah, as well as Oman, for London homes priced between £800,000 to £3 million [Dh3.7 million to Dh14.2 million],” said Faisal Durrani (right), Partner — Head of Research at Cluttons. “They were buyers looking for their second homes and there was a clear preference for homes that were either brand new or with their completion dates between six months to a year.

“Typically, the Gulf buyers are hoping to capitalise before London home prices start to rise at some point.”

Emirati investors pumped in Dh15 billion on all sorts of property in Dubai in the first six months, according to recently released Dubai Land Department stats. They were followed by Saudi nationals, with Dh4 billion worth of commitments. In doing so, the Saudis usurped the position Qataris used to have before the current political crisis erupted.

But for a certain type of Gulf based investor, cutting across nationalities, London still has a place in their preferences. But the sort of currency benefits they could make use of in the second-half of 2016 is no longer there. At least not to the same extent.

Factbox: Even warehouses are just fine

Middle East investors getting into the UK realty market now are not necessarily buying up homes alone. They are quite fine with a warehouse, and especially if it is one operated by Amazon.

“That was a major deal from recent weeks, and this was for a warehouse situated outside Edinburgh,” said Faisal Durrani at Cluttons. “It signals investors interest in property assets that could benefit from eCommerce growth. And this particular warehouse accounts for three out of every eight deliveries made by Amazon in the UK.

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