Property

How active were Russian homebuyers in the London property market last year?

Property Reporter
|
7th March 2022
Question 709

New research from London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, looks at international buyers in the capital and highlights what proportion of property purchases there can be attributed to those from Russia.

Some 82,305 residential property sales (Type A) took place across the London market last year to the tune of £55.7bn in market value, while homebuyers paid out £3.7bn in stamp duty tax.

In addition to these primary purchases, a further 13,016 transactions took place for additional purchases such as second homes and buy-to-let investments (Type B).

It’s thought that approximately 30% of this market activity was attributed to international buyers, with Russian buyers accounting for 1% of all market activity.

This means that Russian buyers accounted for an estimated 247 primary residential property purchases across the London market in 2021, with a total market value of £167m, paying just over £11m in stamp duty tax in the process.

Benham and Reeves also estimate that Russian buyers accounted for approximately 39 Type B transactions at a market value of £22.8m, paying £2.2m in stamp duty tax at the higher rate for this type of purchase.

In total, Benham and Reeves estimate that 286 London properties were sold to Russian buyers in 2021, sitting just shy of £190m in market value and netting the government almost £13.3m in stamp duty tax.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “Russian activity has long contributed to the overall health of the London property market, with the might of the Ruble traditionally prevalent within prime London neighbourhoods.

"However, Russian buyer activity still only accounts for a very marginal proportion of market activity and so while the swift implementation of economic sanctions against Russia may have a knock-on effect here in the capital, they certainly won’t spur a market decline of any sorts.

"In fact, while the expectation is that this segment of international buyers will now dwindle as assets are frozen and the Iron Curtain falls once again, the likelihood is that we may actually see an increase in Russian ownership. The London market has always been a safe haven in times of crisis and with many looking to flee a free-falling Russian economy, there’s a very good chance London will be their destination of choice.”

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