Foreign Ownership in UK Property on the Rise, Providing Essential Rental Homes

Foreign ownership of UK property is steadily increasing, with valuable homes serving as essential rental properties for tenants across the country. Lettings agency, Benham and Reeves, recently conducted research shedding light on this trend.

By submitting a Freedom of Information request to the Land Registry and combining the results with data on properties registered with overseas companies, Benham and Reeves discovered that there are approximately 280,021 homes registered with overseas correspondence addresses or under overseas companies in England and Wales. Given the average house price of £300,636, the total estimated worth of these properties amounts to a staggering £84.2 billion.

Unsurprisingly, London has the highest concentration of foreign-owned homes, with 103,425 properties falling under this category. The City of Westminster tops the list, boasting an estimated market value of £14.9 billion in foreign-owned properties. Kensington and Chelsea follow closely, with a market value of £12 billion, while Tower Hamlets (£4.8 billion), Camden (£4.1 billion), Wandsworth (£3.8 billion), Hammersmith and Fulham (£3.3 billion), Hounslow (£2.3 billion), Lambeth (£2.3 billion), and Islington (£2.4 billion) also feature prominently. Buckinghamshire is the only non-London area to make the top 10, ranking seventh with an estimated market value of foreign-owned homes at £3.2 billion.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, noted that foreign homeownership has increased by 3.2% in the past year, predominantly driven by individual buyers rather than offshore entities. He highlighted that London remains a preferred destination for many foreign buyers, particularly those from Hong Kong. However, buyers from various nationalities contribute significantly to the market value of properties nationwide.

Despite the current economic climate, foreign interest in UK property has remained strong in 2023. Benham and Reeves anticipates that foreign buyers will continue to inject much-needed vitality into the sluggish property market throughout the year.

Importantly, a substantial portion of foreign investment in UK property is directed towards the rental market. With the government failing to address the housing crisis adequately by increasing housing stock, this investment plays a crucial role in providing essential homes for tenants across the nation.

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