updated 6:36 PM CET, Mar 18, 2023

'Silicon Valley whizzkids seek piece of old London town': Times

'Silicon Valley whizzkids seek piece of old London town': Times Pixabay

European buyers are "disappearing" from the London property scene, while Russian oligarchs are no longer as welcome as they were before their country invaded Ukraine a year ago. But such buyers are increasingly being replaced by "U.S. technology billionaires" who are "bolstered by the strong dollar and eager to buy a European base," according to  a report in London's Times newspaper and news website today.

A number of the property industry contacts interviewed by the Times cite the impossible-to-miss differences between these buyers and what one referred to as "the American buyers of years gone by," whom he said tended to be "wealthy middle-aged chief executives from the East Coast."

Many of the new breed of American buyers of London property, Knight Frank's head of prime central London developments, Rupert des Forges, went on, "made a lot of money during Covid and, at times in 2022, benefited from a hugely beneficial exchange rate. 

"The fortunes being made at such a young age is remarkable."

According to The Times, the estate agency Hamptons is reporting that "overall foregn buyers are on the wane," accounting for only 39% of purchases in "prime central London last year, down from 55% in 2018, while in Greater London, "it was 23% [last year] compared with 35% in 2018." (See tables, below.) 

"However," the article goes on, "these figures show that the proportion of American buyers in the most exclusive areas last year has risen from 2% to 7% of purchases, whereas EU buyers have declined from 13 to 12%" and "the ascent of 'Londongrad' also seems to be slowing."  

'Half homes valued above £15m
went to Americans' in 2022

Times Deputy Property Editor David Byers quotes Beauchamp Estates, an upmarket property agency, as estimating that half the homes selling last year for more than £15 million "went to American buyers," or about £620 million worth of luxury property.

Among the developments said to be popular among American buyers at the moment is No. 1 Grosvenor Square, where ten out of 30 families that bought into the project "were U.S. tech executives," The Times quotes Gabriel York, the co-chief executive of the developer Lodha, as saying. 

Coincidently, the seven-story neo-Georgian building now known as No. 1 Grosvenor Square served as the U.S. Embassy from 1938 to 1960, when the U.S. moved its operations to a purpose-built structure on the west side of the square that it was to occupy until its move to a new building in London's Nine Elms district, south of the Thames, at the end of 2017. 

'US tech billionaires the new Sloane Rangers'

London's Daily Mail newspaper and website carried a similar story, also today, with the headline, "How Chelsea is the new Silicon Valley: US tech billionaires are becoming the new Sloane Rangers, after snapping up pockets of exclusive London enclaves with their fortunes made in Covid." 

It quotes Simon Tollit, who co-founded Chelsea-based Tedworth Property in 2017, as noting that the significant share of the London property market now held by Americans was not only tech moguls, but those involved in finance and commodities as well.

Tollit told the Daily Mail that these American buyers are often in their 30s and early 40s, "very normal, fairly low-key, quite discreet.

'They're not showy or flashy. The style of buyer has changed. The wealth is there, it's probably greater now, but they are more likely to turn up on a scooter than in a chauffeur-driven car." 

Prime Central London buyers from Hamptons final

 Percentage of London homes bought by Intl buyers

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