May 4th, 2012
06:54 AM GMT
Share this on:

London (CNN) – As French and Greek voters head to the polls this weekend, some property owners across the Channel will be rubbing their hands with glee.

The reason: a robust real estate market in London's most exclusive areas which have become a safe haven for eurozone investors keen to preserve family fortunes and avoid tightening tax regimes back home.

A favorite to win France's presidential elections on Sunday, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande once quipped that he didn't like "the rich." Among his key policies: a 75% income tax band for the wealthiest citizens, which experts say will exacerbate an exodus already underway.

London is home to an estimated 300,000 French expatriates, often earning it the nickname “Paris-upon-Thames.”

And no area exemplifies the trend quite like the enclave of South Kensington.

This once quiet and quintessentially English part of town is now home to thousands of French families. The area has its own school, or “lycée,” a Francophone cinema, cafes and cake shops – all catering to an army of well-heeled Continentals eager to set up home in London.

Property website Rightmove estimates home values in Kensington rose on average 5% to 6% per month in the first quarter of the year.  That's almost six times faster than the rest of the capital, while local estate agents Douglas and Gordon say asking amounts in prime postcodes like “SW7” and “SW5” have soared 40% since the nationwide house price peak of 2007.

The result: the average house in this chic quarter now goes for around $3.2 million.

So far... So French...

Property brokers Knight Frank say French investors were the second biggest group after British buyers in the first quarter, accounting for 8% of real estate purchases.

So far this year they say enquiries from French clients have soared 19%.

At nearby Douglas & Gordon meanwhile demand is so buoyant they are setting up a special French-speaking office. The new branch is hiring four French staff and will be up and running this summer, just in time for the Olympic Games.

“The French have always loved this area but we are seeing more and more,” says Ed Mead, director of Douglas & Gordon in South Kensington.

“They like the wide avenues and big apartments this part of town offers but also the quaint mews houses. To think some of these properties were built as stables for horses originally but they are now they are worth $2-to-$3 million but demand is strong and now they are all being redone.”

But it's not just the French who are facing a change of government and an uncertain future in the eurozone.

Wealthy Greeks have been ploughing their money into parts of the British capital since their country's first bailout two years ago and continue to do so, much to the delight of those with something to sell in “South Ken.”

Ben Board's family has just accepted an offer to sell their two-bedroom apartment in the desirable district for around $2 million from a Greek buyer. Not only was the amount not far from his asking price but it was entirely in cash. What's more: it came only two months after the flat hit the market.

“We had very strong interest. Perhaps 200 requests to view the flat, mainly from Southern Europeans,” said Board.

Britain may be in the throes of recession but as the eurozone crisis continues to drag on, the dreaded double dip is no deterrent it seems for those in need of a port in the storm. And that for the moment that harbor remains Prime London real estate even if it is exorbitantly expensive.

Posted by: ,
Filed under: BusinessFinancial crisisGreece


soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. david lee

    money laundering? rich people trying to escape taxes that would in a small way help their fellow poor citizens?

    May 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  2. Patti

    The French school and shops have been there for at least 35 years so I think this story is a bit of a stretch. Rich foreigners have been buying property in London for a long time. You also forget to mention the vast number of Brits who have bought property in France – its not one way traffic.

    May 4, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  3. Georges Sioufi

    It's not like the richest reinvested in France and had any intention to do so. It's just like in the USA. Take lessons from this. Money does NOT trickle down. The rich are NOT the job creators, but rather the companies are. When the rich have a little more taxes, they will have more incentive to reinvest into their companies because the extra money would have been lost anyway. The rich are only here to serve for other rich and increasing their taxes to any rate would have not changed. their quality. of life.

    Georges Sioufi
    Canada

    May 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Chris

    @Patti The difference between the French and British Expats is that the British Expats are all retired and offer hardly anything to the French Economy while also taking their burden off British Welfare. The French Expats are employed wealthy bankers who pay lots to the British Government and being young take less money to care for than an 80 year old.

    May 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  5. Gill

    If it weren't for 'the rich' people. You and I wouldn't have jobs!

    May 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  6. Intrepid

    Soon property will only worth the soil it sits on. Location will mean nothing because of the ever shrinking Tax base through unemployment.

    May 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Ronald Burnett

    Nice for London ! But this has been going on for many years. Could be that London is just a nice city. Monarchy and all.!

    May 6, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  8. willaim

    Please read about binary economics. Class warfare is not help to the rich or poor. allowing employees ownership is the answer.

    May 6, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  9. Carl

    The wealthy from all over the world have always been attracted to central london. They love buying property here, even if they are here only 2-3 weeks in a year. London offers not only a good safe haven for property investment, but also
    there are fantastic shops along bond street, sloane street, oxford street. Great restaurants. Good night life, so they can enjoy for a couple of weeks. They love spending their money in london, so it most certainly benefits london economy. In fact lot of ppl, while holidaying in France and Italy, like to keep 1-2 hotel rooms in London, for the last week of august or early september, so they can shop till they drop before they head home. In all hotels of london, come June, July, no ROOMs are available, and london hotels charge doube even triple the rates in many cases as wealthy foreigners and wealthy foreign tourists want to stay. So all in all, its good for the economy.

    May 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  10. kit

    The NF will make short work of them when they arrive in the UK.

    May 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  11. London Luxury Real Estate

    Reblogged this on London Luxury Real Estate.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  12. george argiriou

    Hi.I am a citizen of the world and of greece.I belive in the europian connection with greece.Mr Tsipras isw mixed up ,he wants out but there is no way out.I propose to the IMF and the europian finansial mechanism to call him and talk in person with him and then the resalts of this dialog to be known.This will help the greeks for the next election in order not to become a national disaster.

    May 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  13. timberland heights farm lot

    hi!,I really like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert in this space to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to see you.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  14. Santa Barbara Homes

    Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst other folks think about issues that they plainly do not realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , other people can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

    June 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  15. [Villa|Demeur} {de luxe|de prestique} à vendre {meublée|equipée} sur le Golf du Soleil Agadir

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I'm hoping you write again very soon!

    July 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  16. PRo golf Agadir Maroc

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I have have in mind your stuff prior to and you're simply extremely excellent. I really like what you've obtained here, certainly like what you're saying and the way through which you are saying it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to learn far more from you. That is actually a wonderful site.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  17. Gestion duplex Agadir Maroc

    Thanks for every other excellent article. Where else could anyone get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I've a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such info.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  18. căn hộ hưng phát

    Pretty portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing on your feeds or even I achievement you get admission to constantly quickly.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  19. London property

    hi!,I really like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert in this space to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to see you. London Property

    August 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  20. London property

    certainly like what you're saying and the way through which you are saying it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to learn far more from you.Flats in London

    August 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  21. James Rimmer

    So much for that.I still can't find a cheap flat to rent in london.Tried them all.Mayfair,Canary Wharf you say it.

    August 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  22. south london catering

    I'll immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can't to find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you've any? Kindly permit me realize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  23. Leonard French

    Plazaestates.co.uk experts say the price of property in some of London's most exclusive areas is already being fuelled by an apparent exodus of the rich to the UK. The brokers said in areas like South Kensington French investors were the second biggest group after British buyers in the first quarter, accounting for 8 per cent of property purchases.

    May 8, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  24. Freddy

    What i do not understood is in reality how you're no longer actually much more neatly-favored than you might be now. You're so intelligent. You realize thus significantly when it comes to this topic, made me individually believe it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. Always deal with it up!

    November 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  25. Ava

    Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you're working with? I'm planning to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    November 19, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  26. Lizzie

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Many thanks

    November 24, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  27. Mathew

    I was very pleased to find this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you book-marked to check out new information on your blog.

    November 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  28. santoshwebseo

    Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page Rental Property Accountants

    February 17, 2014 at 8:24 am |
  29. weboptimiaindiaweboptimiaindia

    Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page Investment Property Accountant

    March 15, 2014 at 11:44 am |

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About Business 360

CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

 
 
Powered by WordPress.com VIP