London has been a major banking and financial hub for decades and most of the global banks have a huge presence in the city, especially in Central London area. These banks and financial houses are facing heat of the Brexit scenario and there are fears of a property price meltdown in the city.
Incidentally, the London property market has been a hot favourite of Indians, especially the NRIs, and the correction in prices can result in higher activity and investment in the city by NRIs, say property experts. There are some large institutional investors from India also that are active in London’s property market and they can get a leg up, if there is a correction in prices.
Economy of Britain
There are real chances of business activity coming down in the UK after its cessation with Europe and that does not augur well for the property market in the UK. Some of the real estate consultancies have already said that the economy of Britain can contract following its separation with European Union, which will impact the prospects of commercial property. There has already been a correction in prices in select pockets of London ever since the news of Brexit has been doing rounds and there can be a further downward revision of prices in some of the prime properties in near future.
Current property price trends in London
Property prices rose by about 40 per cent in the 2009-2016 period on account of huge investment flowing into the commercial real estate market of London by Indians and other Asians. Since 2016, the real estate prices of office buildings, retail parks, and other commercial real estate, have seen some downward revision, making it even more affordable and attractive for the NRIs. Even the rents have come down in London. The rental growth in London is now 2.84 per cent lower than the levels expected back in June 2016 when Britain had not decided to leave the European Union, according to a real estate consultancy Landbay. With lower business activity between Britain and the European Union, there are real chances of severe job loss in the UK and that also means empty offices which will take down commercial real estate prices further.
Pound’s exchange rate
Apart from correction in real estate prices, another factor that can work in favour of NRIs and other Indians investing in London’s commercial property, is the fact that there has been a fall in exchange rates of the currency of UK-Pound. The value has gone down by about 10 per cent since the Britishers voted in favour of Britain exiting the European Union. These two factors causing a meltdown in the property prices, combined with the weakening of UK’s currency, presents a very good opportunity for Indians to buy commercial real estate in London.