London’s richest neighborhoods are no longer reserved for British aristocrats. So who is buying all of the city’s most expensive properties? Qataris, of course.
The Gulf State of Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world. According to a report published by Business Insider in July of 2015, Qatar’s GDP per capita was an impressive $105,091.42 in 2013. The small but seriously wealthy country has always had a multi-faceted relationship with the British capital. From football teams to airlines and boarding schools, the takeover of real estate was an inevitable next conquest.
Qatar’s wealthiest investors now own more than £1 billion worth of property in London’s poshest Mayfair postcodes. They have bought so much of it in fact that British estate agent Rokstone claims; their very own “Qatari Quarter” has started to take form. According to a second Business Insider report, the ‘Quarter’ began with Dudley House, the London home of Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, son of Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
Dudley House, worth an estimated £200 million, has become the unofficial center of the “Qatari Quarter.” Qatari owned properties have since taken over quite a large region of Mayfair. The booming development has been noticed by many Qatari and British corporations alike. Qatari Investment Authority and their sovereign wealth fund have recently invested in numerous hotel properties surrounding the up and coming “Qatari Quarter.” Business Insider states that “these include a controlling stake, worth more than £1 billion, in the Connaught and Claridges hotels, as well as a £400 million share of the Intercontinental hotel on Park Lane.”
Estate agent Rokstone’s managing director Becky Fatemi says, “On the North West side of Mayfair property covering almost a quarter of the district’s 279 acres is now the West End address of choice for Qatari and other Gulf state end user buyers and tenants. The ‘Oil Royals’ and wealthy families from the Middle East view Mayfair as a luxury village and their favorite place in London, alongside Knightsbridge, for luxury shopping, dining out and leisure. Over two-thirds of Mayfair residents typically eat out 3-4 times per week and Middle East residents spend on average £1,900 per shop.”
While Middle Eastern investors spending in London is certainly not a new trend, the attention to property has dramatically risen in the past decade. We can without a doubt expect to see a continued influx of investments from the Middle East in the coming years. The question is, where will all the Brits go?