Real estate brokers and developers in the British market are pinning their hopes on lifting restrictions on international travel between the Gulf countries and London, the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom, counting on the growing demand from Gulf buyers for luxury London property, Al-Rai daily reported.
According to Savills, the Middle East’s leading real estate services provider, Kuwait is its second most active market, after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which represents 60 percent of the customers expected from the company’s recent marketing campaigns, while the UAE ranks third.
The UAE newspaper, The National, says that real estate developers have intensified their marketing campaigns to the region as Britain is set to ease travel restrictions, in anticipation of increased real estate transactions with buyers from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
However, the traffic signals system put in place by Britain and adopting the colors red, orange or green for each foreign country, places the UAE, along with other Gulf countries, on the red list, which imposes a 10-day institutional quarantine on passengers coming from those countries.
The newspaper quoted the head of International Residential Sales for the Middle East at Savills Real Estate Consulting, Inore Glen, as saying that the latest news was a blow to a market that was supposed to see a rise in pent-up demand after a year of restrictions.
“A month ago, we thought the flights would be permitted, everyone would be able to travel to the UK, and we had a real series of deals,” he added. There is a lot of pent-up demand in the Middle East, but the inability of people to travel really affected the number of deals that we were able to implement. ”
Savills is running seven marketing campaigns for major developers in central London in the Gulf region, fueling interest in the British capital – which is already popular with buyers in the Middle East.
Einore says that the appetite of Gulf investors to buy is there, but they have no urgency other than not wanting to commit so they might be unable to travel.
“There is a great deal of interest, but until investors can travel and see the property for themselves, I really do not think we will see as many deals as we would like,” he added.
Despite hesitation among Gulf buyers, the newspaper says the wealthy spent more on luxury homes in London last year than any other city around the world, according to data released by property consultancy Knight Frank for the month of April. International buyers spent nearly $4 billion on luxury properties in the British capital in 2020.
The Gulf region is a little different from other parts of the world, Glenn said, because building trust takes time before buyers commit to a deal – a relationship usually forged through face-to-face meetings.
He added: “It is very difficult to hold meetings with clients on the (Zoom) platform. We usually fly weekly, flying all over the region, and having face-to-face meetings with people from all over the GCC. Until an agreement is reached, we will have facilitated a lot of visits.”
Meanwhile, Glenn said that Savills has achieved more success in selling low-priced real estate, as Kuwaitis buy homes with prices starting from 500,000 pounds sterling. “People seem to be more willing to stick to this level of the market,” he added.
SOURCE : TIMES KUWAIT