Singaporeans lead Far East interest in buying investment property in London

Property investors from the Far East regard London as a relatively affordable and a safe place to buy property with their presence in the market increasing.
The strength of the private rented sector, coupled with an excellent track record for capital growth, is continuing to make the city a target for Far East investors and the rush to buy London residential property is showing no signs of slowing down, according to Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings, one of London's largest, independent letting agents.
‘We hold regular investment seminars in the Far East two but this has been our busiest trip ever, with over 100 investors, mainly doctors, lawyers and other professionals, attending,’ said Anita Mehra, managing director of the London letting agency.
‘Compared to other major, international cities, London is still a relatively affordable place to buy property, thanks in part to the weakness of the pound. Far East investors recognise prime London's outstanding potential for lettings and many of the professionals we meet already own around six or seven London residential properties. We're also seeing a large increase in capital budgets,’ she explained.
The firm has found that Singaporeans are showing the greatest level of interest and this is buoyed by the weakness of sterling and the strength of the Singapore dollar, making London property around 30% cheaper for Singaporeans than five years ago.

‘Investors are becoming more knowledgeable about the London property market. They do their homework and know what is letting quickly and which areas are most popular,’ said Mehra.
Buyers are looking for one bed or two bedroom, two bathroom properties as these are in highest demand by renters. But they are flexible about location. New developments are most popular. The majority of investors at developments such as Kew Bridge in South West London and Napier at West 3 in Acton Vale are from Hong Kong and Singapore.
Embassy Gardens in central London and Dickens Yard in Ealing are also sought after. Demand is also high in areas like Nine Elms in South London which is seeing a lot of regeneration and Stratford which is close to the City and Canary Wharf where property prices are lower but rental demand is strong, so higher rental yields can be achieved.
‘The strength of the private rented sector is encouraging investment and while there has been talk about a housing bubble, we believe the long term outlook for investment property is good,’ explained Mehra.
She pointed out that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believes that by 2017 the private rented sector will account for one in five of all UK households and long term, the Government's Office for National Statistics (ONS) says between 2012 and 2020 the population of the UK will grow by 300,000 each year. Two thirds of this growth will be through immigration, focused on wealth generating areas such as London and the South East, so rental demand will increase further.
‘Add to this the UK's reputation as a safe haven, politically and economically, and demand for London rental investment properties seems likely to continue on its upward trajectory,’ she added.