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UK owns less than half of London's financial hub

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 02:02

Nov. 22 - British investors own less than half the office properties in London's financial hub for the first time according to a new report by property firm Development Securities. Hayley Platt reports.

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Many of London's landmarks are iconic but nowadays few are British owned. A new report by property firm Development Securities shows for the first time more than half the office blocks in London's financial district are owned by foreign investors. Matthew Weiner is the firm's Executive Director. SOUNDBITE: Matthew Weiner, Executive Director of Development Securities PLC, saying (English): "It's gone from 40 percent in 2006 to now 52 percent, so every other building in the city is ultimately owned by somebody from overseas. What we've seen as well is the rise for the first time in private net worth individuals which we've never been able to identify in all the studies previously and I think that's an interesting dynamic against safe haven assets that London represents." And that's good news for the city. SOUNDBITE: Matthew Weiner, Executive Director of Development Securities PLC, saying (English): "I think it's good for liquidity in the market and good for London's status as an international capital. I think also these investors coming in have got long term investment horizons which gives greater stability to the market which will help the occupational market as well and help London function as a centre." Cash-rich investors seized the opportunity to buy cheap property during the financial crisis of 2008 - when many office blocks were fifty percent cheaper. They've since recovered a little but investors remain keen to own a slice of the city. SOUNDBITE: Matthew Weiner, Executive Director of Development Securities PLC, saying (English): "We've seen bidders from Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan, we've seen from Greece, Italy. Germany's still the biggest but we've seen a rise in Asian, excluding Japan which has actually decreased and south Africans, all the BRIC emerging economies starting to see ownership in London." Despite the economic downturn in Europe London remains the world's top financial centre - ahead of New York and Hong Kong. The UK's domestic housing market maybe struggling but foreign demand for property in London's famous square mile is sky high. Hayley Platt Reuters.

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UK owns less than half of London's financial hub

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 02:02