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European investors ‘see London as a safe haven’

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European investors are continuing to see the merits in investing in London commercial property, it has been reported.

Writing for the Guardian, Julia Kollewe and Rupert Neate said the ongoing eurozone crisis is encouraging more businesspeople from the continent to move their funds to the UK.

The writers noted that the number of wealthy European property buyers in London has surged, with Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and the French “desperate to convert their euros into bricks and mortar in the capital”.

Citing David Adams, managing director of Mayfair estate agents John Taylor, the writers noted that London property is being considered one of three ‘safe havens’ – along with the Swiss franc and gold.

Ms Kollewe and Mr Neate explained that there have been large numbers of web searches and enquiries from clients based in Europe of late.

“Even the falling value of the euro in recent weeks, hitting four-year lows against the pound and so making property purchases more expensive, has failed to put off wealthy Greeks and other euro buyers desperate to park their money somewhere safe,” they added.

The writers noted that London “has always been popular for its liberal legal and tax regimes”.

And with increased interest from Europe – along with the Middle East, eastern Asia and China – property prices in the capital are continuing to rise.

This may make things more difficult for businesses seeking to set up offices in prime locations within the capital – particularly young companies.

But firms do not need to purchase property outright to set up a base in the centre of the capital.

They also have the option of renting serviced office space or taking advantage of virtual offices, which give them access to a prime London address but without the overheads associated with operating in the capital.