Over the past three years super-rich Africans have spent nearly $900 million on luxury residential property in London’s best addresses. Properties like “The Lancasters” close to Hyde Park have long attracted wealthy investors from around the world. Credit: cnn.com
Wealth manager Bimpe Nkontchou says Africans spend large sums on interior designs in London and often select modern and clean furnishing rather than ornate or traditional styles. Credit: cnn.com
Trevor Square, a short walk from high-end department store Harrods, is attractive to the world’s most wealthy. Most of the Africans spending big in London come from just six countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal. Credit: cnn.com
Nigerians alone have bought over $373 million worth of property in London over the last three years. Credit: cnn.com
Overlooking London’s Hyde Park, properties in the One Hyde Park development can cost as much as $208 million. Included in the price is use of the complex’s cinema, saunas and panic room. Credit: cnn.com
According to luxury property experts Beauchamp Estates, African buyers often want a home with parking as trophy cars are a passion amongst wealthy families. Credit: cnn.com
Africans buying property are also said to be attracted to the UK by schools such as Cheltenham Ladies College, which is located two and a half hours outside central London. Credit: cnn.com
Nigerians are London’s fourth biggest overseas shoppers by spend, averaging $640 in each shop. Some spend an average of $7,500 per shop in places like Harrods. Credit: cnn.com
Sophisticated, glamorous and spacious — when the super-rich go house-hunting they are searching for something special.
Real estate in London’s swankier suburbs can catch a buyers’ eye. Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea have long been the stomping ground of the elite — and are now welcoming a new wave of African investors.
“The Africans who are coming into London now are Africans who themselves have worked for their money,” explains Bimpe Nkontchou, a British-Nigerian wealth manager based in London.
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“They have grown in industry and are actually part of the exciting story of the African renaissance,” she continues. “It’s bringing to London the best of the continent.”
The rise of Africa’s big spenders. Credit: cnn.com
These investors are having a considerable impact on London’s property market and they mainly come from just six countries: Nigeria
, Democratic Republic of Congo
Of these, Nigerians are splashing out the most cash when it comes to bricks and mortar in the British capital — typically spending between $22 and $37 million on securing a property, according to luxury property agents Beauchamp Estates. Their research shows that over the past three years Africans have spent over $900 million on luxury residential property in London.
Super-rich Africans spend $900 milllion on London homes.
“The new international African is very well-traveled,” explains Nkontchou. “Educated in the U.S., UK and different parts of Europe their taste is definitely more modern and clean.”
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Owning a home in post codes like W1 or W8 — around the corner from Kensington Palace — means more than having a place to lay your head. These buildings are investments which are expected to gain even bigger value in the coming years.
High-end auction house Sotheby’s says that foreign investors see London as a “safe haven” for prime property investments, and ranks the city as the second most important hub for ultra high-net-worth homes. The only spot more important on the planet is New York City.
“The African buyer market in London has significant room for growth” – Gary Hersham, Beauchamp Estates Director
For evidence that London still attracts high-end buyers, look no further than the sale of a penthouse in Mayfair which fetched $40 million earlier this year.
As well as an intelligent investment, many of the African buyers see these houses as a way of maintaining long standing cultural ties with London — and it’s here they want to send their children to school.
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Harrow, Eton, Cheltenham Ladies College are all among the list of respected institutions that teach the offspring of wealthy Africans. The Nigerian Embassy in London calculates that Nigerian nationals now spend over $446 million per year on fees, tutoring and accommodation at British schools and universities.
“West African clients are very much driven by the need to educate their children,” says Nkontchou. “Education usually means putting the children on an international stage, and that’s one reason why this is feeding into the demand for property in London.”
Indeed, education industry experts ICEF Monitor say there were over 17,500 Nigerians studying in British universities in 2012 — about 1,000 more than the 2009/10 academic session.
And experts are expecting this trend to continue.
“Virtually all the transactions are for end use, not rental investment, which indicates that the African buyer market in London has significant room for growth,” says Gary Hersham, director at Beauchamp Estates.
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“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 rental luxury homes in Prime Central London,” he adds. “It is going to be the African century.”
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