The Russian bear is roaring less now in the prime London property market as the African lion takes over with rich Africans spending over £600 million on real estate over the last three years.
New research suggests that wealthy buyers from just six countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal, are snapping up luxury property in the city.
Nigerians are the top buyers in London spending over £250 million and buyers from Africa favour key addresses in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge.
Overall African oligarchs now account for 5% of all ultra prime residential sales by value, up from 2% 24 months ago, according to the data from top end agents Beauchamp Estates.
The top 10% of buyers are spending £30 million upwards on homes while 80% spend £15 million to £25 million on London property and they prefer newly built or newly refurbished properties, the research also shows.
They also want a property with parking as trophy cars are a passion amongst wealthy families.
They are also renting luxury homes and will spend £10,000 to £15,000 per week on a top London property but tent to seek short term lets of six weeks to three months.
There are 15 key addresses favoured by African buyers: Eaton Square, Belgravia, Holland Park, Kensington, Addison Road, Kensington, Charles Street, Mayfair, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, Winnington Road, Hampstead, Regents Park (mansions), Compton Avenue, Highgate, Templewood Avenue, Hampstead, Avenue Road, St Johns Wood, Campden Hill Road, Kensington, Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, One Hyde Park, 100 Knightsbridge and The Knightsbridge Apartments, Knightsbridge.
Prime London residential property is seen as a good, safe, secure and stable investment by wealthy buyers Africa but there are also historic cultural and community ties. There is a 70,000 strong Nigerian community living in London, Ghana has a 56,000 strong community in the capital, whilst the Gabonese London community consists of some 3,000 people.
Wealthy Africans are also keen to send their children to top schools in and around London such as King’s School Canterbury, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton, Harrow and Bradfield. The Nigerian Embassy in London has estimated that Nigerian nationals now spend over £300 million per annum on fees, study equipment, tutoring and accommodation at British schools and university.
‘It is going to be the African century and these six countries are the standard bearers in the London property market. Continental African buyers or luxury tenants in London are currently where the Russians and Ukrainians were five years ago,’ said Gary Hersham, director at Beauchamp Estates.
‘They have the resources and desire to purchase or rental luxury homes in prime central London, but they have less knowledge of the best properties and addresses and seek our local knowledge and insider advice on where to buy and what makes a good investment. At present 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 and maturity,’ he explained.
‘Nigerians have been long standing property purchasers in the central London market, going back to the early 1980s. However, in the 1980s and 1990s they typically purchased houses in North London, in Hampstead, St Johns Wood and Primrose Hill. How, enhanced wealth has enabled them to move into the ultra-prime market in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, and have been joined by affluent purchasers from other West African and French equatorial states,’ he added.