A Middle Eastern businessman has signed a lease to rent London’s most expensive property at a cost of £55,000 ($90,000) a week, in the latest sign Arab investors are some of the biggest spenders on British prime real estate.
The unnamed billionaire will be moving into the four-bedroom penthouse in one of the capital city’s most exclusive districts, Knightsbridge, Harrods Estates said, at a cost of $4.7m a year.
The company declined to confirm the nationality of the tenant but the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper reported the man as an “unnamed Middle Eastern man”. The penthouse is located in one of the capital’s three most exclusive real estate developments, One Hyde Park, Lancelot Place and The Knightsbridge.
The property arm of the London-based luxury department store said it had seen a surge in demand for luxury property across London from Middle East, Russian and Asian clients. The firm said it had seen the average cost of its rented property increase to £4,285 from March to date compared to £1,955 the same period the previous year.
“Some 89 percent of our sales are from high-net-worth individuals from overseas, particularly Russia, Middle East and Asia, where we achieve our highest sales,” Shirley Humphrey, sales and marketing director of Harrods Estates, said in a statement.
“The prime property market in London is the fastest growing area in the UK. We have not only seen an increase in demand from buyers but also those looking to rent, which in turn is pushing prices up. We recently secured a rental of £55,000 per week, which is a record figure for us.” London is often seen as a safe haven for Middle Eastern investors, who flock to the capital during the hot summer months.
Buyers from the Middle East and North Africa are among the biggest spenders on luxury property, holding a 10 percent share of prime central London real estate, real estate consultancy Savills said in June.
By value, MENA homeowners hold 13 percent of London’s most expensive property, with an average spend of £4m, the consultancy said.
Luxury development One Hyde Park, which was launched to great fanfare in January, broke world records for the most expensive price per square foot at £6,000.
Buyers in the luxurious development, which includes 86 apartments overlooking either Hyde Park or Harvey Nichols, are said to include Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Jaber Al-Thani and Mohammed Saud Sultan Al Qasimi, head of finance for the government of Sharjah.
Between 20-25 percent of sales were to Middle East buyers, with the cheapest apartment in the development costing £5.75m ($9.2m), Arabian Business reported in June.