As the trees are borne home and the Christmas lights are lit, it’s a natural cue to look back on the year and take stock.
For many in the property and financial press, it’s also time to release – I’ve never known why – percentage forecasts for the coming year on values, rents, mortgage rates and so on.
We never have at Aylesford, and here’s a very fresh example as to why: the year 2016.
Honestly now, who among us predicted Brexit, Trump and (perhaps the greatest stretch) that the undisputed No. 1 in world tennis would be a Brit? If you did, I hope you got stupendous odds and are now enjoying your yacht.
We prefer to advise our clients based on the here and now. And as we close the year, what we can say is that London’s prime residential sector is looking ever-more inviting to foreign investment.
The main reason, of course, is the pound. The FT reported just a month ago that Chinese buyers, in particular, are now sharpening their focus on London. The fall in sterling has coincided with signs that China’s own property market has peaked. For a Chinese buyer considering a £10m purchase in London just a year ago, currency movements alone have given them an extra £1m to play with now.
The FT also quotes a survey that found 60% of Chinese HNWs were planning to invest abroad. And it is more than just a financial decision: the Chinese, and many other nationalities, value the UK’s priceless assets of stability and safety.
I also believe many Arab investors with interests in the US are now weighing up their options. The incoming president has hardly rolled out a welcome mat for Muslim investors. Once again, London is looking increasingly inviting.
With around half of all our sales made to foreign buyers, we are well versed in their perspectives and needs, and will continue to put that experience to work for our clients next year.
Indeed, 2017 will be our 51st year: we have just celebrated our half century. Over that time we have worked, and made firm friends, with countless vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants.
To all of them, and to you and everyone who follows us here online, have a wonderful Christmas.