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The Masked Tulip

How Osama Bin Laden Helped Push Up Prime Uk House Prices

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Tragic events in New York a decade ago have had several unexpected consequences on this side of the Atlantic but surely the least likely to have been foreseen is an increase in prime residential property prices.

Charles Ellingworth, a director of Cadogan Estates and founder of the HSBC subsidiary Property Vision, told me: “Wealthy Arabs don’t feel welcome in America any more and so they have bought the top end of the British market instead.

“The effect has been quite dramatic. Walk around Sloane Square at night and all the lights are off. The owners don’t live there any more, they just visit for a couple of weeks a year.”

He should know. Cadogan owns the freeholds of much of Chelsea and Knightsbridge, the estate having been formed three hundred years ago when the Second Baronet Cadogan married Elizabeth Sloane, daughter of Sir Hans Sloane, who had bought the Manor of Chelsea in 1712.

More recent factors which add to the attraction of top end British property for buyers from the Middle East include record oil prices and weak sterling. The latter factor makes all kinds of British assets cheaper for foreign investors and that has been reflected by stock market takeovers and country home purchases outside London.

But the influx of rich foreign buyers and their influence at street level is most visible in many expensive parts of our capital; not just central areas. Thirty years ago, the pubs of Hampstead were filled with would-be intellectuals of modest means who often lived in bedsits nearby.

Now many of these historic hostelries are eerily quiet even at weekends and several have closed. Oligarchs and oil-rich trustafarians tend not to hang around in pubs, putting the world to rights – perhaps because they own it and have no wish to talk about it.

Similarly, many of the most expensive residential streets in the capital – such as Bishops Avenue, the so-called ‘billionaires’ row’ in Highgate – are also strangely empty. But the simple explanation is that if you are rich enough to own a house there, you almost certainly own property elsewhere in the world. And, as Liberace pointed out, no matter how rich you are, you can only sleep in one bed at night.

On a national level, the impact of foreign buyers is creating a two tier housing market, with prices continuing to rise at the top end but with a downward trend across most other properties.

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I have been saying this for a while, that weak sterling is going to make the British second class citizens in their own country.

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I have been saying this for a while, that weak sterling is going to make the British second class citizens in their own country.

Don't give a flying **** about a few square miles of central london - if it wants to do this to itself let it - increasingly any effect this has on elsewere ill be marginal as there won;t be the sellers moving the monety out to the rest of the country screwing up those markets as all the owner will be foreign and not intersted in any other areas.

However, does open some great opporutnities shifting the work currently done in london elsehwere in the country (or abroad) or automating the shit out of it to get around unpayable wages for unpayable housing.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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