GCC investment in UK properties to reach $3.2 billion in 2024

Residents from the GCC are expected to increase their investments in UK real estate in 2024 in the face of global inflationary pressures, supply-chain disruption, and interest rate rises, real estate experts and property developers said.

The Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME), a London-based independent Shariah-compliant bank, expects GCC investment in UK properties to reach $3.2 billion in 2024, primarily driven by declining prices of real estate assets in the UK.

While London remains the preferred location, investors are also looking at properties in Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol.

According to the UAE and UK-headquartered Hinduja Group, over 10 per cent of the buyers of its Raffles branded The OWO Residences, is from the GCC from a value perspective, while global sales in the pipeline is hovering close to 50 per cent.

OWO Residences is part of the refurbished heritage property, The Old War Office of Britain’s World War II prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Sanjay Hinduja

Sanjay Hinduja

“The fact that owning a residential property at The OWO is a rare opportunity to buy a piece of history has stirred up robust response from the UAE, the GCC, and Middle Eastern buyers,” said Sanjay Hinduja, who heads The OWO development and is also the Chairman of Gulf Oil International.

The development value of The OWO Residences spread across 185,000 sq. ft, excluding private amenities that span 30,000 sq. ft and communal areas is estimated to be more than £1 billion.

The Hinduja Group bought the property in 2015 from the UK government and it took eight years for the global business conglomerate to restore it. The OWO also houses the first Raffles Hotel in the UK. Residents at The OWO can also leverage Raffles hospitality, including dedicated concierge services as the hotel is co-located within the premises.

The OWO has 1–5-bedroom residences and penthouses, all in very unique and different shapes in a value range of £4,000 to £10,000 + per sq ft.

Super-rich GCC buyers have also found The OWO Residences in their favour as it resonates with their predominant preference for branded service apartments and privacy, and the property ticks all that is in their wish list on the top of its ubiquitous location in in Central London bang opposite 10 Downing Street.

The group is also gearing up for a major awareness campaign on The OWO and its potential as an asset class to own in GCC in the first quarter of 2024 with roadshows planned in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

One of the most expensive apartments at The OWO has been bought by a Middle Eastern investor, joining other high-profile buyers. — Supplied photo

One of the most expensive apartments at The OWO has been bought by a Middle Eastern investor, joining other high-profile buyers. — Supplied photo

The OWO Residences, co-located with Raffles Hotel on the front side offering 85 units from one to five-bed apartments and exquisite penthouses have been clocking huge interest from buyers from the US, UK, Asia, and the Middle East. “We have broken the record in sales in the UK and now our focus is more on the GCC and Middle East in general as we continue to receive high-profile delegations from the region keen to explore The OWO,” said Hinduja.

He said one of the most expensive apartments at The OWO has been bought by a Middle Eastern investor, joining other high-profile buyers from the world of Wall Street, Hollywood, mainland China, and Singapore, among others.

“GCC buyers typically buy into a property when it is complete compared to their Asian counterparts who are open to acquiring under-construction projects. With the construction, complete and the Raffles Hotel open and buzzing, we have been receiving several GCC visitors to London who want to explore the property, touch and feel its exquisiteness, and appreciate its architectural excellence, before they decide on buying,” said Charlie Walsh, head of Sales & Marketing, The OWO.

The OWO was closed to the public and it was opened for the first time after 120 years in September this year by Princess Anne – the Princess Royal, the sister of King Charles II.

“This is a unique project and there won’t be any of this magnitude in Central London. The residential side is very private and separate from the hotel on the front side. It also comes with a private ecosystem of amenities entirely catering to residents ranging from utilities, dining areas, lounges, cinema gym, etc. Typically, high-profile investors from the GCC want a high level of hospitality services and privacy and The OWO Residences have this taken care of,” said Walsh.

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