International buyers bought 55% of all homes in London’s prime property market in the second half of 2019 – with Chinese buyers hitting a new high of 6%.
A survey by Hamptons says the spike in central London – up from 44% in the first half of 2019 – may have been sparked by the threat of an additional 3% stamp duty on foreign buyers.
The largest numbers of prime central London buyers, by geography, were from the EU and Asia, both on 16%.
The biggest increase came from Middle Eastern buyers, accounting for 12% of prime central London purchases, up from 8%, year on year. The number of US buyers also increased 2% to 5% of transactions.
Fall in Greater London
However, it was a different story in Greater London, where the percentage of overseas buyers showed a year-on-year fall of 9% from 2018, dropping to 26% – the lowest level since 2016.
In areas such as Islington and Clapham, just outside prime central London, international buyers bought 24% of homes in the second half of 2019, down 4% year on year.
Meanwhile in wealthy suburbs such as Wimbledon, West Hampstead and Dulwich, the figure was down 5%.
The biggest fall in Greater London was among Asian buyers, who accounted for just 6% of homebuyers, half the number in the same period of 2018.
The number of EU buyers was also down slightly (1%) on the previous year, but at 12% still accounted for the biggest single group of international buyers.