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London 'is a magnet for global investment'

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London 'is a magnet for global investment'

Foreign investors remain keen to transfer money to the UK, with London's prime residential property market in particular proving very popular.

According to EC Harris, this segment of the city's real estate sector has become a "magnet for global investment".

As a result, the organisation believes the popularity of top end residential property in London among foreign investors could fuel development activity over the next ten years.

However, EC Harris noted that this depends on many factors, such as how the debt crisis in the eurozone pans out.

Indeed, it stated that while London is currently regarded as a safe haven by global investors, the cost of investing in the city could go up in the event of a devaluation of the euro.

Foreign nationals who are transferring money to the UK may therefore benefit from arranging a currency comparison before making a firm commitment in order to ensure they benefit from the best exchange rates.

EC Harris said recent changes to the stamp duty system, which apply to properties worth £2 million or more, could also affect the city's appeal to foreign nationals, along with ongoing reforms to the UK's planning system.

Mark Farmer, Head of Residential at EC Harris, noted that if developers and investors are "properly organised and funded", they will find there are good opportunities to collect healthy returns.

"The size of the [development] pipeline is a reflection of a massive vote of confidence in London and in UK plc and will have only been enhanced by this summer's Olympics showcase," he observed.

Mr Farmer acknowledged that many of EC Harris's development forecasts are based on conjecture, especially as it remains to be seen whether foreign interest in London will hold up during the coming decade.

However, he said it is "undeniable" that the development pipeline based on current sentiment is of a "staggering" size.

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