Super-rich oligarchs are taking their vast resources and investing them in the safe haven of London property – with more than £600million spent in the capital in the past three years.
A mixture of traditional reasons combined with increased terrorism and the outbreak of Ebola is said to be behind the dramatic influx of African money to the capital.
While African buyers only account for 1.5 per of transactions in the ‘ultra prime’ London market, they make up five per cent of sales by value – up from two per cent. This is by typically spending between £15million and £25million on each home.
The recent Ebola epidemic and continued terrorism from groups such as Boko Haram has resulted in an increase in buyers in recent months.
Beauchamp Estates, which sells some of London’s most expensive homes, today released a report on African buyers in the capital.
The upmarket estate agency said the buyers are coming from six countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Equitoria Guinea
Nigerians are the biggest spenders, with wealthy nationals forking out £250million on London homes in the last three years.
The new wave of super-rich includes Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian business magnate who, with a £16billion fortune, is Africa’s wealthiest man.
Folorunsho Alakija, a billionaire oil tycoon, fashion designer and philanthropist from Lagos, is also a big investor in the London property market. She recently bought four apartments in One Hyde Park, the super-exclusive development in Knightsbridge.
Her British-born nephew Rotimi Alakija, who also goes by the stage name of DJ Xclusive, has also invested property in the capital.
It is thought other tycoons have also been eyeing up homes on Kensington Palace Gardens – known as Billionaires’ Row.
Gary Hersham, managing director of Beauchamp Estates, revealed he has had three super-rich Nigerians enquiring about homes in the past week alone. This is despite the average person in Nigeria earning just £850 per year.
He said: ‘I’ve had an upturn in African buyers over the last few months.
‘The situation in West Africa at present is pushing rich African buyers back into Central London at a significantly higher level than is normally experienced.
‘While war, disease and terrorism in West Africa grab media headlines, actually for super-rich Africans its domestic wealth, cultural ties to London, general safety and education for their children that are the key attractions for buying a home in central London.’
Mr Hersham said these super-rich look to buy property in the ‘platinum triangle’ which is made up of Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge.
Around 80 per cent spend between £15million to £25million on a residential property, with ten per cent spending more than £30million.
If they are not buying, they are renting luxury homes for up to £15,000-per-week and staying for between six weeks and three months per year.
London’s reputation for having a residential property market, which is secure and a stable investment, is one of the main reasons wealthy Africans are buying, according to Beauchamp Estates.
Another reason is historic cultural and community ties.
Nigeria is a Commonwealth country and there is a community of 70,000 in London. There are a similar number of Ghanaians in the capital.
London’s reputation for having a residential property market, which is secure and a stable investment, is one of the main reasons wealthy Africans are buying, according to Beauchamp Estate
If they are not buying, they are renting luxury homes for up to £15,000-per-week and staying for between six weeks and three months
The third reason is education, with King’s School Canterbury, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton, Harrow and Bradfield are among the favourite private schools for wealthy families from Africa.
According to the Nigerian embassy, Nigerian nationals spend more than £300million-a-year on tutoring, accommodation, fees and equipment at British schools and universities.
Mr Hersham added: ‘It is going to be the African century.
‘Continental African buyers or luxury tenants in London are currently where the Russians and Ukrainians were five years ago.
‘At present virtually all the transactions are for end use, not rental investment, which indicates that the African buyer market in London has significant room for growth and maturity.
‘Nigerians have been long standing property purchasers in the central London market, going back to the early 1980s.
‘However, in the 1980s and 1990s they typically purchased houses in North London, in Hampstead, St Johns Wood and Primrose Hill.
‘Now, enhanced wealth has enabled them to move into the ultra prime market in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, and have been joined by affluent purchasers from other West African and French equatorial states.’