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Arabs have historically chosen London for its safe-haven credentials, such as political and economic stability, the secure legal system and the benefit of being able to deal in English. However, Middle Eastern investors are becoming increasingly more considered with their financial decisions post Brexit, observing longer-term economic trends to safeguard their investments and increase their yields from property investments.

There was also further anxiety around the new guidelines from the UK Treasury, which came into force this April, which decreed that non-domiciled residents who own a residential property in the UK will be subject to inheritance tax but fortunately there is grace period until 2018.

Nonetheless, the love affair between Arab investors and the British capital is as strong as ever with London's most notable landmarks owned by Arabs, including the world-famous The Shard and Harrods. The recent announcement that Saudi Aramco is considering a multibillion-dollar flotation on the London Stock Exchange underlines the size and importance of London as one of the most liquid, well-regulated and transparent markets in the world and proves the British capital is back to 'business as usual'.

The other big Middle Eastern story impacting London this summer was the news in Qatar, which has led to less cross-border investment in the GCC, and it is anticipated that this will lead to more capital flowing out of Qatar into the United Kingdom. 

The London property market is certainly ready for a cash injection, having faced some stormy weather over the last few years, including two general elections, the Brexit referendum, along with two increases in stamp duty. Despite uncertainty over Britain's new government and exit from the European Union, London's prime central market has not lost its allure. A year on from the Brexit vote, prime London house prices have continued to soften and for currencies pegged to the US dollar, the weaker pound is offering significant savings for international buyers.

The Crossrail especially has had a notable effect on the market, with property values within a 10-minute walk of Crossrail stations outperforming Knight Frank's prime central London index by 40 per cent.

Knightsbridge vs Mayfair
Knightsbridge was the top choice for Arabs in London, but it has recently lost its cachet with discerning buyers looking for exclusivity and prestige. Mayfair, offering the benefits of a quintessential English village in a prime location, is slowly replacing Knightsbridge for desirability. One much sought after exclusive address is The Penthouse at 37 Curzon Street, located above the iconic Curzon Cinema. An exclusive duplex residence offering contemporary living in an impressive Grade II listed building, it is one of a kind in the area. The residence was previously the home of rock legend Dave Clark of Beatles rival, The Dave Clark Five, who regularly hosted rock royalty and iconic celebrities, including Freddie Mercury.

Fitzrovia near retail hubs
This summer, London has seen its usual wave of Arab visitors escaping the soaring temperatures at home to indulge in shopping sprees in London. The last remaining penthouse at Fitzroy Place in Fitzrovia is the perfect pied-à-terre to enjoy nearby retail therapy on Oxford Street and Regent Street. The duplex apartment is the epitome of luxury city living.

Riverside living in Westminster
There has been a river renaissance across London in the last decade and riverside living only continues to increase in popularity and price. The Middle East is no stranger to superlative waterfront properties, such as Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai's new canal living. So, for those who are looking for riverside options in London, Riverwalk sets a new benchmark in luxury design and contemporary living. The penthouse spans the 16th and 17th floors and the 2,5000 sq ft south-facing roof terrace looks towards the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Shard and St Pauls.

Live-work lifestyle in the Square Mile
City destinations are currently proving popular with overseas buyers, with London's landmark 'Walkie-Talkie' skyscraper in the city being sold for £1.3 billion to Hong Kong investors in a record-breaking transaction for a single building in the UK.
The Heron is a rare duplex penthouse in the heart of London's financial district and in the City's cultural quarter. It is the first residential development in the City of London for over 30 years. The property boasts of a residents' private club lounge and a landscaped roof garden and meeting rooms for the ultimate live-work proposition.

Prime buyers move to Tech City
Tech City is Europe's largest tech hub and prices are set to rise by 16 per cent over the next five years, according to recent research by real estate consultancy JLL.
The Atlas Building is a 40-storey building and will be the tallest in Tech City, an area between Old Street and the trendy shopping, dining, and nightlife of Shoreditch. 

Woolwich - a country estate 
Woolwich, a district in south-east London, is on the new Elizabeth train line, which is due to fully open in 2019. JLL anticipates price growth of 39.2 per cent by 2020, more than any other area along the new commuter line.

Architects, designers and home dressing estate agents are becoming much more aware of the Middle East's infatuation with the city and are launching marketing and public relations campaigns to coincide with Arabic holidays. They are now poised and ready for Eid Al Adha and look forward to welcoming an influx of travellers for the holiday.

By: Harry Tregoning
Published in: http://www.khaleejtimes.com

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