The number of U.S. buyers in London had been rising for some time, driven by a favorable currency exchange and discounted prices, but now, the coronavirus pandemic and the increasing adoption of working remotely has led to an opportunity for a new group of U.S. residents trying the city on for size.
One of the biggest trends witnessed recently by
, head of London residential at Sotheby’s International Realty U.K., is U.S. residents looking for one-year rentals in the city.
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The pandemic has resulted in changing work patterns, and now “U.S. buyers and tenants are seeing a window of opportunity to try something different,” he said. “Families are saying, ‘Let’s try the U.K.’”
That’s exactly what one of
‘s clients did, a young family with two children from New York, who found themselves a townhouse in central London with a garden, and who preferred not to be named or disclose pricing.
“We chose to move to London as the opportunity presented itself due to the fact that our
’ learning has now moved online for the foreseeable future. We feel that it’s a great time to experience a different culture and lifestyle for 12 months or so and see how we adapt to living in Europe,” they responded to Mansion Global over email. “My husband’s work is global, and he can work remotely, so it’s a perfect opportunity for us to try something new.”
For the New York-transplants, being close to a park was a must, they said, as was being able to walk to amenities such as shops and cafes. “We wanted a neighborhood feel within the city as we are used to city life back home.”
London’s time zone—five hours ahead of the East Coast—its business sector, the nationwide health care and the infrastructure, are all considered assets to those headed across the pond, according to Mr. Bradshaw.
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Many movers are from major metropolises like New York City and Los Angeles, and typically have budgets of between £2,000 (US$2,587) and £8,000 per week, he said.
They aren’t just renting, but buying, too.
U.S. buyers have been responsible for 14% of mortgage deals being secured by foreign buyers across the U.K.’s prime housing market in the year to mid-October, according to a report released earlier this month by high-net-worth mortgage broker
They were the second most prominent group of international buyers, behind those from the U.A.E., the report found.
Eventual lifting of international travel restrictions is expected to further boost their numbers.
Visitors to the U.K. from the U.S are currently required to quarantine for two weeks, a measure that is holding the market back and putting off potential buyers from viewing properties in the U.K. in person.
“A lot of people want to invest,” Mr. Bradshaw said. But “if you’re coming in [to view properties], you have to do a two-week quarantine. They don’t want to be here for two weeks. That’s the biggest frustration.”
This article originally appeared on Mansion Global.