Uncertainty regarding the outcome of Brexit as well as the ongoing global health crisis has left many potential property investors in limbo, particularly for the London and south of England markets. A 2020-2024 UK Residential Market Forecast report by Knight Frank expects prices to either flatten or fall by the end of year. Despite these stresses, London may still be a good place for investment, and overseas homebuyers are looking at the market more attentively after the government’s announcement that an additional two per cent stamp duty surcharge will be imposed on foreign investors. This new surcharge will affect non-UK tax payers acquiring property in England, on top of the existing stamp duty charge and three per cent levy on second home purchases and buy-to-let properties. This will come into effect in April 2021. “Historically, instability and uncertainty are very good for the London market,” says Mark Elliott, head of international residential for Savills in Hong Kong. “People see London as a relatively safe haven, and we think that we will continue and or increase in the coming three to six months.” The city remains a top choice for overseas real estate investments, mainly due to its excellent schools, transport links and global connectivity as a global financial centre. Elliot adds, “London is still one of the most tax efficient places to invest. It has a transparent legal and taxation system which doesn’t confuse or penalise overseas investors. “On top of that, the UK now has a stable government, with a definitive plan [for Brexit]. Whether people like the new leadership, it provides stability which is what many investors look for.” Earlier in the month, Rightmove reported that there has been a 26.4 per cent increase in the number of sales in London for February 2020, compared to the same month last year. Miles Wood, sales director at Qatari Diar explains, “The ever-increasing demand for property in the city, combined with the current depressed Chinese market, makes London very attractive for Chinese buyers.” Headquartered in Doha, Qatari Diar is a real estate development company established in 2005 by the Qatar Investment Authority which has worked on many high-end development projects. Chelsea Barracks is one of its latest luxury real estate projects they manage in the heart of London. It is a development unlike any other in the world. “It’s an entirely new neighbourhood in Belgravia that was previously concealed for over 150 years,” Wood adds. Why Chinese investors are eyeing up Malaysia’s luxury properties Completed in late 2019, the development consists of 64 apartments, three penthouses, 13 town houses and one mews house. Prices for a two-bedroom residence at Chelsea Barracks start from £5.25 million (US$6.5 million) and town houses are available from £38 million. The penthouse is on the market for £42 million. There are very few pockets of land left to develop in London, and the 12.8 acres of plot available to Chelsea Barracks is seen as a rare opportunity to buy into one of the last remaining pieces of the Belgravia puzzle. It’s sheer quantity of green space is considered the crowning jewel of the development. “Forty per cent of the site will be garden squares for which the public can walk through freely. Four of these squares are already open to the public. This is unheard of in London, especially as the cost of and in the city is at an all time high,” Wood adds. There is another exciting luxury residential property in London catching people’s eye: One Bishopsgate Plaza. The development boasts a unique portfolio of residential units in the historic heart of the city, and is the first tower development in London to combine private flats with a luxury hotel, the Pan Pacific London. Why Chinese property investors are falling in love with Paris “It is so incredibly rare that the city allows residential developments, so this is a unique offering that only comes around once a blue moon,” says Savills’ Elliott. “In addition to the rarity of residential within the actual square mile, the fact it has a five-star hotel connected is a huge plus for convenience, security and also abundance of facilities; however the unique factor is the location. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks – the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the River Thames all become exhibits in your own private gallery.” Starting price is set at £1.3 million. The global demand to live and invest in prime central London remains high. Knight Frank reported a 92 per cent increase in applicant registration in January 2020 compared directly with January 2019. “The recent recovery at the top end of the market suggests we are now at a turning point and can look forward to stronger market conditions, with transactions over £5 million (HK$6.2 million) in London up 31 per cent in Q4 2019 compared to Q4 2018,” Wood adds. But there are also other elements that buyers of this level require to see in their investment. “Purchasers [ …] value the quality of materials used and attention to detail applied to both exterior of the building and internal spaces.” For Chelsea Barracks, one such example is the solid Portland stone facade, inspired by the classic Belgravia garden squares, designed to stand the test of time for the next 150 years as an aesthetic feature of sustainability for next generations to enjoy. Where are rich Hongkongers investing to get a foreign passport? At One Bishopsgate Plaza, the designers have included a host of sustainable features to target an excellent rating on the BREEAM sustainability rating, including a central heating, cooling and hot water system for the whole building. In all new developments, there is a large amount of energy saving features. It’s very high up on the list of importance when it comes to new buildings in London. This is in line with Knight Franks recent wealth report which says that wellness attributes are also becoming more important to homebuyers. “The biggest selling point certainly from my perspective,” says Elliot, “is having the incredible swimming pool above ground level with floods of natural light. This shows how much there is a focus on design and well-being. Nobody really wants to swim or workout in the basement with no natural light, yet that is the only option in a lot of projects as above ground space is too valuable.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .