Slough and Manchester top for foreign property investment outside London

Slough and Manchester have the highest density of foreign property investors according to research by Search Acumen.

Land Registry lists nearly 100,000 (99,345) freehold or leasehold titles across England and Wales as being owned by foreign-registered businesses, including 675 within Slough’s ‘SL’ postcode area. Search Acumen’s analysis compares this to the number of addresses within each area to identify the density of these titles with overseas owners.

The results indicate that Slough has the highest concentration of these titles outside London. This is likely to be influenced by the status of Slough Trading Estate as the largest industrial estate in single private ownership across Europe¹.

The data also shows that over half (55%) of the titles owned by businesses registered overseas as of October 2015 were bought during the period 2010-2015. Excluding those that have since been sold, the busiest years for registrations were 2012 and 2014: each accounting for 11% of all titles owned by overseas firms. Just 3% of titles currently owned by overseas firms were bought before 2000, with the oldest dating back to 1964.

Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director of Search Acumen, said: “There are two things we can learn from this analysis: firstly, that the reach of overseas business investment in UK property stretches far beyond the M25 to areas you might not immediately think of. The potential for complications to occur when carrying out these kind of transactions is significant, which makes it vitally important that conveyancers and commercial property lawyers across the UK are alive to the latest developments, particularly relating to fraud.

“At the same time, our findings highlight the value of Land Registry data in shaping the nation’s understanding of our property market and the various interests at play. The debate has been raging over Land Registry privatisation in recent months, but we firmly believe that keeping it in public hands is the best way to maintain its integrity. This simple step will ensure that data can be gathered objectively and is subject to fair and increasingly open access, both to support business innovation and public confidence in property ownership.”

It comes as London and the UK sees a huge increase in foreign investment after the vote to leave the EU resulted in a huge devaluation of the pound.

Juwai, China’s biggest international property portal, said the number of Chinese buyer inquiries into UK property in the month after Britain voted to leave the European Union was 40pc higher than average.

Bernie Morris, head of Juwai’s EMEA division, said: “The data show that the Brexit vote has definitely boosted Chinese buyer interest in UK property. The chief mechanism has been the reduction in the value of Sterling against the dollar and the yuan.

“Now, with politics stabilizing and a competent new government in place, the UK looks like the same old safe haven as ever – but cheaper.”

According to CBRE, Chinese buyers make up 5pc of owners of residential property in London’s West End, and the UK is the most popular place to buy property in Europe for Chinese investors. London makes up more than half the properties snapped up by Chinese buyers, who also look to Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford.


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