Why do wealthy Indians own the most real estate in London?

 High and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (HNIs/ UHNIs) from India have long favored London as a foreign real estate investment destination. The clientele has evolved from industrialists and Bollywood celebrities to Indians who want to invest in London’s real estate market for their children who are going to be attending university there. 

One of the largest groups of property owners in London is comprised of Indians. According to Akash Puri, Director of International at India Sotheby’s International Realty, “Some are students and families who buy homes while traveling to the UK for education, others are UHIs with vacation homes abroad, and others have lived in the UK for generations. 

These days, the cost of real estate in London is similar to that of Mumbai and Delhi at home; a 1BHK unit costs Rs 3.2 crore, while a 3BHK costs Rs 5 crore and more. Rich Indians have a few favorite spots in London, including Oxford Circus on the west side of the city and Mayfair and Marylebone in the city’s center. 

Important complete factors 

Wealthy Indians are drawn to London as a destination for real estate investments for multiple reasons, according to an expert who spoke with HT Digital. According to them, the city offers possibilities for business growth, steady capital growth, currency diversification, effective taxation, a good standard of living, and residence options through real estate investments. 

“Investing in a property on the outskirts of London makes more sense than paying exorbitant rents for an extended period, and we wanted to secure a safer, higher-quality future for our children,” stated a couple who recently made their purchase. 

“Real estate prices in the region have continued to grow in the past few years, despite Brexit, which was expected to disrupt London’s prominence as a property market,” stated  Vivek Rathi, head of research at property consultancy Knight Frank India. He said that London’s liberal culture and reputation as a center of high-quality education are other advantages. 

Indians are also purchasing real estate in London due to the consistent capital growth and rental yield caused by a supply-demand imbalance. 

Demand for housing in London is higher than supply, with a typical 35% shortfall. The city remains resilient despite economic challenges because of this disparity. HNIs have invested in London for the past few years due to the city’s favorable property prices and stamp duty holiday for buyers. 

There are ultra-rich Indians who view owning prominent properties in desirable cities like Mumbai, New York, and London as a matter of prestige and status. 

This is how the figures add up. 

A Knight Frank report states that in 2023, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in India increased by 6.1% annually, outpacing the global average growth of 4.2%. A person with a net worth of at least $30 million is considered ultra-high net worth.  

“Wealth transfer to foreign destinations is likely to increase as the number of NHIs and UHNIs in India increase, and this should find expression in London’s property market,” Rathi said. 

According to the report, residential real estate accounts for about 32% of the wealth of India’s ultra-rich, with 14% of that property situated outside that nation. In 2024, about 12% intend to buy a new house. 

According to a survey conducted by the consultancy, when asked which nations or regions have high net worth individuals would most likely invest in real estate, as many as 47% of UHNIs from India stated that they would want to buy a property in the UK, 41% in the UAE, and 29% in the US. 

UK-based Indian developers

Due to the various benefits that the UK property market offers, several Indian developers have made an effort to include London in their global portfolio. 

As Macrotech Developers, the Mumbai-based Lodha Group entered the London market in 2013. It proceeded with two residential developments in the downtown area, No. 1 Grosvenor Square in 2017 and Lincoln Square in 2016. 

A more recent example is the $200 crore investment made by commercial real estate investment platform Property Share into the UK’s warehousing industry. The advantages of the location will allow the company to expand its operations further into the city.  

Marquee clientele 

Numerous powerful businessmen, such as Neeraj Kanwar, Lakshmi Mittal, Ravi Ruia, Mukesh Ambani, and the Hinduja brothers, are known to own real estate in London. 

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, reportedly paid Rs 1,446 crore for a 25,000 square-foot Mayfair mansion, making it the most expensive house in London in 2023. 

However, there are rumors that Mukesh Ambani owns Stoke Park, a 900-year-old hotel outside of London. There are thirteen tennis courts, fourteen acres of private gardens, and a 27-hole golf course on this 49-bedroom estate. According to reports, the billionaire purchased the hotel for 57 million pounds, or Rs 529 crore, in 2020.

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