What does the general election mean for international buyers looking at best-in-class London property?


That’s the question on our minds here at Homes One this week.

We are buyer-centric, and as such always looking out for intelligence that suits clients who are in unfamiliar territory.

Because that’s what London has always been for the international buyer.

However now more than ever we are experiencing unpredictable terrain. With global politics at its most impulsive and volatile since the end of the cold war, the UK election is almost a footnote in the long shadow of Trump, Syria and North Korea.

Not to mention Brexit!

Yet we are six weeks away from the ballot box, and in parallel to that we want to share our understanding of London’s prime residential market with you.

Reassuringly, traditional buyers from overseas can sense opportunity, and at Homes One we have built our business on such a client base. While this market could never be called hot (many of our competitors are struggling), we have transacted for both Russian and Saudi clients since November, when the Autumn budget presented no further confusion to that stirred up by Brexit last summer. Perhaps more surprisingly, customers from Mexico and Spain have also invested since the turn of the year, and we currently have instructions to search for both Eurozone and domestic clients.

So let’s look at the impact of Theresa May’s snap decision for Homes One clients… What will the election mean for the type of global citizen who is used to outperforming the markets?

It’s been a busy fortnight at Homes One since the election was called, in one of our busiest periods since the economic recovery began in 2012. However we are having to work hard for it, and buyers need a lot of reassurance in such uncertain times.

The fear voice says people will hit pause and wait for the (inevitable?) Tory victory to be announced, before piling back in for another five years of get-rich leadership.

The other voice says to look at the facts. We are transacting and the pipeline is full. Our experience and tenacity has seen us through sticky terrain before, most noticeably in 2008 when we continued to trust in the economic recovery and stay bullish in the market. Our deal flow since the aforementioned Autumn budget has been steady, and we anticipate the only factor that may slow this down to be a massively unexpected upset.

However let’s look at the possibility of a giant-killing more closely.

The prospect of an improbable, probably impossible, victory for the opposition (on the back of an inventive and unprecedented alliance or coalition, which could surely only be based on the cancellation or considerable softening of Brexit), is the only thing that might temporarily halt the international buyer from investing in London’s prime residential market.

And for the international buyer, this may not even be enough. If as seems very likely Theresa May stays in power for another half decade, confidence in her to lead the country towards greater autonomy and standing in the international community is commonplace in the business community: if Jeremy Corbyn pulls the proverbial godfather of all rabbits from the hat, it’s likely to mean we embrace our French and German siblings in a kiss and make up of epic proportions, as Brexit is redesigned or possibly dissolved.

In the case of either eventuality, synapses will fire for the international property investor looking to navigate London property.

Homes One will be here to guide all our clients through this famously complex and unfamiliar territory.

About the author:


Karim Bazzi is the founder of Homes One. He specializes in property search in London and can be contacted at karimbazzi@homes-one.com

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