Wealthy Africans have been snapping up ultra prime London property, according to a high-end residential specialist.
Buyers from six continental African countries have spent over £600m on luxury residential property in the last three years, according to Beauchamp Estates. The company reported that house hunters from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal account for around 5% of all ultra prime London residential sales by value. Of the six, Nigeria is the biggest player, accounting for £250m over the three years. Data from the Office of National Statistics show that over 140,000 Nigerians visit the UK every year.
The rich investors prefer properties in the “platinum triangle” of Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, say the company. The majority (around 80%) spend £15m-£25m and most prefer large family houses rather than high end apartments.
Beauchamp said that transactions are virtually all for end use and, as such, interior is an important concern when selling a property to this market. The buyers tend to look for lavish interior design and are particularly keen on modern contemporary pieces from brands like Harrods, Fendi Home and Versace Home. A house with parking is also a must for continental African buyers, as the vast majority of households are families who rely heavily on cars.
Frequent business visitors to the UK, meanwhile, tend to rend a luxury apartment in Mayfair, Belgravia or Knightsbridge, typically for between £2,500-£5,000 per week – or, more lavishly, choose short-let for more like £10,000 per week. They usually stay in London for anything from six weeks to three months per year.
Beauchamp say that there are three driving forces behind the rising numbers of African buyers in prime central London. The first is the growing wealth of the countries’ domestic economies (for example, Nigeria now has a GDP of £272bn thanks to oil, construction and communications).
The second is the strong cultural ties between the UK and the countries in question. Looking again at Nigeria, a commonwealth country, the nation has a 70,000-strong population in London.
Finally, education is a big factor. King’s School Canterbury, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton, Harrow and Bradfield are amongst the favourite private schools for wealthy families from continental Africa. The Nigerian Embassy in London said that Nigerian nationals now spend over £300 million per annum on fees, study equipment, tutoring and accommodation at British schools and universities.
Gary Hersham, Director at Beauchamp Estates, said: “It is going to be the African century and these six countries are the standard-bearers in the London property market. Continental African buyers or luxury tenants in London are currently where the Russians and Ukrainians were five years ago. They have the resources and desire to purchase or rent luxury homes in Prime Central London, but they have less knowledge of the best properties and addresses and seek our local knowledge and insider advice on where to buy and what makes a good investment.”
By Francine Carrel, international property reporter, OPP