Middle Eastern property investors turn to the UK

28 November 2002

Middle Eastern investors are increasing their investments in the UK property sector as they withdraw their funds from the US, says City of London law firm Trowers & Hamlins. 'Although not of the magnitude some analysts have suggested, there has been a seismic shift in the investment strategy of Arab institutions', said partner Nick Edmondes. He also attributed the increases to high oil prices and the ease of complying with sharia when investing in the UK. The law firm has acted for Kuwait Finance Houseand Gulf Finance House(MEED 15:11:02)

According to figures published by UK property research company DTZ Research, investors from the region invested £827 million ($1,292 million) in European property in 2001, a 225 per cent increase on 2000, of which 91 per cent was in the UK. The trend has continued and even accelerated in 2002: in the first nine months £875 million ($1,367) was invested in UK commercial property.

A report by US think tank The Council on Foreign Relations suggested that Saudi-based investors alone have withdrawn as much as $200,000 million from the US in recent months, although the figure is much disputed (MEED 23:8:02).

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