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Investing, Market Updates

Alford Hughes Announces Second Edition of Global Investor Guide in Collaboration with Qatari Artist Abdulaziz Yousef  

Alford Hughes, Qatar’s only prime international real estate office, has announced the release of the second edition of the Global Investor Guide in collaboration with Qatari Artist Abdulaziz Yousef, popularly known as ‘Temsa7’. Building on the success of its previous collaboration with Qatari artist, Bouthayna Al Muftah, for the inaugural edition, Alford Hughes continues to support local artists, providing them with an outlet to showcase their creativity and bolster their growth.  

The Global Investor Guide is available exclusively to the Alford Hughes Investor Network in Qatar. It offers insights and investment guidance into prime real estate opportunities from across the world and showcases a portfolio of luxury properties exclusively available for sale through Alford Hughes for investors from Qatar. The guide aims to serve as a valuable resource for investors, providing expert advice to make informed decision-making in the complex and ever-changing world of international real estate investments. The latest edition highlights hotspot destinations, including Paris, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon, chosen for their vibrant culture, lifestyle, and promising investment prospects. 

Mohammed Al Baker, CEO of Alford Hughes, expressed, “We take pride in championing the local art scene by providing a platform to local artists to express their creativity.  With the Global Investor Guide, we bring unparalleled investment advice and opportunities to our investor network in Qatar.” As an art investor himself, Al Baker, added, “We also hope our investors cherish this guide as a limited-edition art collectible.”  
“I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our investors to the newly launched Alford Hughes Lounge, at 6 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, The Pearl Island. This VIP lounge is truly one of a kind in the Qatar market and provides our investors with a boutique luxury setting so that our team of international real estate experts can guide you on investing internationally, locally”, Al Baker, added.   

Mohammed Al Baker, Managing Director of Bin Yousef and Founder of Alford Hughes 

Investing, Market Updates

Qatar’s Exclusive Real Estate Investment Firm Alford Hughes Launches Art Initiative to Support Qatari Artists

The initiative follows a previous collaboration with Qatari artist Bouthayna Al Muftah whose prominent works include the official poster for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to support the launch of the Global Investor Guide.

Alford Hughes, Qatar’s most exclusive network for international real estate invest and asset management has announced a special art initiative that aims to support Qatari artists.

Mohammed Al-Baker

This Summer will see the launch of Alford Hughes’s ‘Invest Internationally, Locally’ campaign where the company has collaborated with two local artists to create digital artistic interpretations of Qatari culture across famous landmarks from Alford Hughes’ key markets. The initiative will promote and support the local artists, providing them with a challenge and an outlet to exhibit their creativity and bolster their growth, while also showcasing the company’s property portfolio in key cities around the world.

Mohammed Al Baker, CEO of Alford Hughes commented on the initiative saying: “As an art investor myself and an active advocate for the local art community, I have taken great pride in sponsoring local artists through my private businesses. The assets that Alford Hughes promotes to its investor network are architecturally brilliant, financially enticing and situated in prime real estate markets that are famous for their cultural aesthetics”.

This ongoing support to local artists comes on back of the resounding success of a previous similar initiative in which the company collaborated with Qatari artist Bothayna al Muftah in the design and production of the Global Investor Guide which was gifted exclusively to 250 local investors.

Al Baker continued, “Alford Hughes is a unique premium service unlike anything else in Qatar Real Estate Industry, and I have found that partnering with local artists complements what we do brilliantly and provides a refined touch to our exclusive services and property portfolio”.

Since its inception, Alford Hughes has kept the welfare of Qatari investors and Qatari society at the top of its priorities. The company strives to create initiatives that will support local talent and drive development in the market whilst also making the troublesome process of investing overseas as a Qatari national as seamless as possible

Since its establishment in 2020, Alford Hughes has grown its asset portfolio offering to over 27 billion riyals across the world. The appetite for International Prime Real Estate has never been stronger in Doha and being an exclusive office to simply investing Internationally, Locally – Alford Hughes has positioned itself as the go-to company in Qatar.

Investing, Paris

With Large Historic Homes, Excellent Schools and a Massive Park, Paris’s 16th Arrondissement Is the Perfect Family Base

With its historic Haussmann-style buildings, broad avenues, expansive parks and museums, Paris’s 16th arrondissement has long been home to the crème de la crème of French high society.

Paris’s version of New York’s Upper East Side or London’s Kensington, the arrondissement is steeped in quiet charm of long straight boulevards and its beautiful townhouses, each cut from massive blocks of stone, no more than five stories high and characterized by elegant wrought iron balconies, soaring ceilings and large windows. The most fashionable streets in the north are Foch Avenue, Georges Mandel Avenue and Henri-Martin Avenue.

Though the interest rates are rising slowly in France, it is not expected to impact the luxury market as much as the properties are usually bought in cash. International buyers, especially from the Middle East are back and showing interest in Paris. The demand is steady, and prices have remained at a high level and are expected to stabilize in 2022.

Investing, London, Market Updates

London’s Lizzie Line Opens- Why this is important for Property Investors

The ‘Elizabeth line,’ or ‘Lizzie line,’ as it has already been dubbed, is Europe’s largest building project and London’s largest infrastructure project in 20 years.

The new route will revitalize London transit, making commuting easier and will continue to provide an opportunity for property investors.

40 stations will provide direct links to formerly unconnected routes, reducing travel times and greatly alleviating congestion. The 100-kilometer project will connect London’s Docklands, City, and West End to Heathrow Airport, Berkshire, and Essex, and will include ten new stations.

Even though some regions have already seen tremendous growth because of the Elizabeth Line’s announcement, astute investors can still uncover value near the now better-connected stations. Although investors typically have the foresight to invest in future projects, owner occupier buyers and tenants have a more short-term perspective and need to see such projects up and running before committing to buy or rent, which is likely to drive growth in sales and rental prices in these areas in the coming years.

Hanwell in the London Borough of Ealing, which Alford Hughes has identified as being primed to benefit, will see the largest reduction in journey times along the new line, with services from Hanwell Station to Heathrow Airport taking 11 minutes, down from 40 minutes currently, and commuting to Bond Street taking 17 minutes, down from 45 minutes.

Investing, London, Market Updates

London Properties Owned by Qatari Individuals Increased by Almost 50% Between 2018 and 2021

Qataris have always been drawn to the UK property market, both as investment opportunities and second residences, and is one of the top 20 countries in terms of individual property ownership in the United Kingdom.

According to an analysis by Alford Hughes Qatar, the number of properties owned by Qatari individuals in London climbed by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2021.

Qatari buyers primarily choose to invest in Prime Central London’s golden postcodes- Westminster being the most popular region, accounting for 21.5% of all London properties held by Qatari buyers. Westminster City Council, which stretches from the Thames in the south to Regent’s Park in the north, encompasses some of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods, including Mayfair, Marylebone, St James’s, Bayswater, Whitehall, and sections of Belgravia and Knightsbridge.

The borough of Wandsworth is the second most popular place, with 12.4%. The multi-billion-pound makeover of Nine Elms, which includes the rebuilding of the Battersea Power Station, the new US Embassy, and two new tube stations, has sparked enormous interest in the area.

In the recent years, it has become part of a broader trend among Qatari purchasers to expand their search outside typical central locales in search of places with both growth potential and easy access to important central London destinations. Between 2018 and 2021, the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham witnessed the biggest increase in Qatar ownership, with a 76.5 percent increase. Parts of Earls Court, Fulham, and Shepherd’s Bush have also been popular among Qatari purchasers lately, thanks to this trend and large-scale regeneration across West London.

The analysis, which represents the number of homes owned by Qatari individuals, does not take into consideration purchases made by companies. Purchasing properties through a limited company has become more popular in recent years, particularly among Qatari investors who see various advantages to doing so.

“Over the next 12 months, we expect purchase rates to rise as travel restrictions ease and Qatari purchasers see a buying opportunity.” Our local investor network is taking advantage of a central London market that appears to be undervalued compared to historical values and has shown growth in the last two quarters.” – Ryan Dougan, Lead Consultant – Investment Advisory, Alford Hughes Qatar.

Investing, London, New Development

How new homes of over 200 sqm will become a prized asset in Central London

Earlier this year London’s new Westminster City Plan was put in place as part of the borough’s planning blueprint until 2040.

Included in the plan is a maximum housing size of 200 square metres for future homes in residential developments.

As on one of the capital’s largest boroughs, stretching from the Thames in the South to Regent’s Park in the North, Westminster City Council contains some of London’s most sought after locations. Areas including Mayfair, Marylebone, St James’s, Bayswater, Whitehall as well as parts of Belgravia and Knightsbridge will be effected by the new ruling.

New rules give large units rarity value

Newly built, larger homes already built or in construction within Westminster will likely become even more of a prized asset as future supply is restricted.

At the same time, the desirability of larger homes has been further enhanced following the impact of the global pandemic: spacious, light-filled properties with home office rooms and views over open green spaces are now greatly in demand.

This is likely to create a two-tier market where the price of homes in excess of 200 square metres are likely to be higher than those sub-200 square metres. This would suggest a potential higher capital value gain for those who purchase these homes now while there is still new supply in the marketplace.

In the short term, it is good news for developments that feature larger units, including those featured below:

The OWO, Whitehall
Park Modern, Hyde Park
Chelsea Barracks, Belgravia
The Peninsula Residences, Belgravia
The Bryanston, Hyde Park
60 Curzon, Mayfair
Investing, London, Market Updates

Demand returns to the prime London rental market

Over the last six weeks, a tenant’s market has become a landlord’s market in prime London as supply has fallen and demand has hit record highs.

Supply has been curtailed as would-be landlords have sold to capitalise on surging demand in the sales market and as staycation rules have been relaxed a number of investors have returned their properties to the short-term rental market.

In addition, the return of overseas students and the re-opening of offices has driven the demand side of the equation.

These factors have contributed to upward pressure on prices, with average rents in prime central London rising by 1.2% in the three months to August, the biggest such increase since July 2018. In prime outer London, the quarterly gain of 0.9% was the largest since June 2018.

As shown in the below chart, of the properties rented, the areas around London’s two main financial districts (the City and Canary Wharf) showed the greater activity with 28% of listings rented in August in comparison to 22.5% for Greater London, a figure that was at 13% at the start of the year for both groups. This divergence shows the clear trend that the re-opening of offices has been driving lettings activity.

Office re-opening drives lettings activity

Investing, London, Market Updates

What’s next for the UK’s prime property market?

Eight factors shaping the top end of the UK’s property market

The UK’s prime real estate markets are set to continue to increase for the rest of this year at least, according to Savills research. Country houses and regional locations are likely to continue to be in high demand as lockdown lessons stay fresh in buyers’ minds, while London and city markets are due for a resurgence as hospitality re-opens and international buyers enter the market as travel resumes.

  1. We anticipate the lifestyle drivers that have influenced the prime markets since they reopened a year ago will continue to do so through the remainder of 2021.
  2. Lifestyle drivers will result in continued price growth across the prime markets beyond London, especially in the country house and coastal markets where there is the greatest imbalance in supply and demand.
  3. The continued relaxation of social distancing measures and the rollout of the vaccination programme in the UK will underpin a return to price growth in the prime London markets during the second half of 2021.
  4. Markets that have traditionally been dominated by those living and working in the capital’s financial and business districts, such as Canary Wharf, will begin to see demand increase more as workers start to return to the office.
  5. As international travel gradually resumes, we expect to see a more pronounced recovery in prime central London prices from 2022 onwards, in a market that looks good value in both a historical and international context.
  6. In more domestic markets, an increased requirement for space will continue to underpin demand in 2022, though we expect to see some rebalancing between London and the country as changes in buyer preferences, sparked by the pandemic, become less of a driver.
  7. Longer-term price growth across all markets will be underpinned by a low interest rate environment, though this will be tempered by the prospect of higher taxes as the government seeks to restore public finances.
  8. As has occurred in the past, a general election will slow the market in 2024. That could interrupt the pace of recovery in central London, which is most exposed to the risk of higher taxation in the event of a change in government.

Prime Residential Forecasts

202120222023202420255 Year
Prime Central London3%7%4%2%4%21.6%
Outer Prime London2%5%3%2%2%14.8%
All Prime London2.5%6%3.5%2%3%18.1%
Inner Commute5%3.5%3%2.5%3%18.2%
Outer Commute5%3.5%3%2.5%3.5%18.7%
Source: Savills Research

Prime Rental Forecasts

202120222023202420255 Year
Prime London3%7%4%2%4%21.6%
Prime Commuter Zone2%5%3%2%2%14.8%
Source: Savills Research
Investing, Market Updates

Top ten prime global cities for property price growth q1 2021

Globally, prime residential prices are rising at their fastest rate since Q4 2017.

Prime prices, defined as the top 5% of the housing market in value terms, increased 4.6% on average in the year to March 2021. Eleven cities registered double-digit priced growth up from just one a year ago. Low mortgage rates – record lows in some markets – tight stock levels and a desire for space post-lockdown have led to an uptick in demand.

Three Chinese cities – Shenzhen (+19%), Shanghai (+16%) and Guangzhou (+16%) – lead the index this quarter with improving economic sentiment and government investment in the Greater Bay Area of China behind the acceleration. Buyer enthusiasm has persisted despite a new round of curbs being introduced in January.

Vancouver and Seoul (both +15%) complete the top five rankings, here successive cooling measures have been deployed to reduce speculative activity in recent years but local appetite for
homebuying remains undeterred. Residential sales in Greater Vancouver increased 22% in 2020 year-on-year.

Auckland, the index’s previous frontrunner, has seen prime prices moderate. The slowdown from 18% to 8% is in part due to the base effect prime prices in Q1 2020 were notably higher than in Q4 2019 but also the introduction of a new capital gains tax (CGT) for non-primary residences which are bought as an investment and held for less than 10 years.

NumberCityRegion12 Month % Change
(Q1 2020 – Q1 2021)
3 Month % Change
(Q4 2020 – Q1 2021)
4VancouverNorth America15.2%6.3%
6St. PetersburgRussia13.4%2.5%
7Los AngelesNorth America12.6%2.2%
10MiamiNorth America10.2%2.4%
Source: The Knight Frank Prime Residential Cities Index

Costs of Ownership: Buy. Hold. Sell.

Buying, owning and selling a US$2 million property for non-resident purchasers. 

For those looking to purchase a property abroad, the associated costs with buying, owning and selling a property can influence buyer decisions.

Property taxes are also often used as a tool by governments to influence residential markets. Since the pandemic, we have seen tax reductions be used as a tool to drive growth in residential markets such as London and Mumbai.

According to research by Savills in their Prime Index: World Cities 2021 report, Hong Kong is the most expensive in the index. Here, an overseas buyer can expect to pay over 30% of the purchase price – most of which is stamp duty for overseas buyers. On the other hand, Shenzhen has the cheapest associated costs but has the tenth most expensive purchase price.

The research is based on a non-resident overseas buyer purchasing a $2 million property.

This is for use as a second home for less than nine months of the year over a five-year hold.