UK Property Purchases by Foreign Corporates

HM Land Registry release monthly updates of property transactions by foreign corporations. From this data its quite interesting to figure out trends over time and geography in terms of foreign interest in property in England and Wales.

The details and caveats – the data only includes properties owned by foreign companies (as opposed to individuals), including companies registered in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. I’ve excluded any properties where the proprietor’s address is in England or Wales.

So lets start with the most basic breakdown – that by region. No surprises here – London is popular with foreigners.

What about the number of properties being bought by foreign corporations over time? From the chart below it looked like a pretty steady rise until around Brexit time (June 2016) when it became more volatile as the pound dropped and the future of British asset prices was anybody’s guess. Whats more clear in the chart is the decline this year.

Looking at the percentage of foreign corporate transactions to the total volume of property transactions, it has hovered around 0.4%  of the market since 2010, with spikes whenever the pound has dropped – notice the spike up in the property chart in 2008/9 and the corresponding spike down in the value of the pound in the exchange rate chart below that.

We also know the number of buys and sells that took place each month in the last year which gives us some interesting information on where foreign corporations are net buyers vs sellers. In October 2018 this is what it looked like – e.g., London had 360 purchases vs 356 sales.

The chart below shows the trend in the buy/sell ratio over the last year by region with January being the darkest and October being the lightest shade of blue. The North and North West were popular at the beginning of this year, while Wales and the West Midlands have picked up more recently (though keep in mind that for some places like Wales and East Anglia the overall transaction numbers are quite small).

The top 20 places where foreign corporations have been buying properties are:

DistrictTotal Oct 2017Total Oct 2018One Year Change %
SOUTHWARK45583383.08
SOUTH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE366477.78
YORK538356.60
LUTON7010854.29
CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE7010854.29
WYRE345047.06
MANCHESTER51669234.11
BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN202630.00
NEWHAM42653325.12
CAERPHILLY516323.53
DUDLEY303723.33
OLDHAM323921.88
BARKING AND DAGENHAM668021.21
BASSETLAW202420.00
COUNTY DURHAM13816519.57
NEWPORT526117.31
SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE374316.22
WINCHESTER596815.25
CANNOCK CHASE273114.81

Conversely, the top 20 places where foreign corporations have been selling are:

DistrictTotal Oct 2017Total Oct 2018One Year Change %
BLABY3312-63.64
LEICESTER393200-49.11
HINCKLEY AND BOSWORTH4523-48.89
CHARNWOOD8044-45.00
TAMWORTH4526-42.22
TENDRING7644-42.11
KING’S LYNN AND WEST NORFOLK3118-41.94
WREKIN3722-40.54
NEWARK AND SHERWOOD3522-37.14
KNOWSLEY8253-35.37
NORTHAMPTON10571-32.38
SOUTH TYNESIDE2517-32.00
CASTLE POINT2618-30.77
WARWICK3021-30.00
CORBY3726-29.73
COVENTRY9970-29.29
NUNEATON AND BEDWORTH2417-29.17
BRECKLAND2417-29.17
EAST DEVON2820-28.57

And these are the changes for all districts with over 200 properties owned by foreign corporations:

DistrictTotal Oct 2017Total Oct 2018One Year Change %
CITY OF WESTMINSTER73437249-1.28
KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA34683338-3.75
TOWER HAMLETS144014832.99
CAMDEN131813290.83
LAMBETH101110402.87
HOUNSLOW9689821.45
CITY OF LONDON9449480.42
HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM860854-0.70
WANDSWORTH8398582.26
ISLINGTON786784-0.25
COLCHESTER742739-0.40
LIVERPOOL6897478.42
BARNET619600-3.07
BIRMINGHAM5365716.53
MANCHESTER51669234.11
EALING4985020.80
SOUTHWARK45583383.08
NEWHAM42653325.12
HARINGEY4054050.00
HACKNEY399389-2.51
LEICESTER393200-49.11
SALFORD3713771.62
SHEFFIELD3233281.55
LEEDS299277-7.36
BRENT2802851.79
WYCOMBE2702720.74
CITY OF NOTTINGHAM262199-24.05
CITY OF KINGSTON UPON HULL253235-7.11
BRIGHTON AND HOVE2322361.72
CITY OF BRISTOL214209-2.34