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Business, Economy

Silicon Valley tech giants boost London property market:demand from US home buyers soars in Marylebone, Mayfair and Chelsea

The huge investments being made by Silicon Valley tech giants in London have helped send demand for property from wealthy US buyers soaring, according to figures today.

American purchasers are now second only to the Chinese and account for six per cent of all sales to foreign buyers in central London so far this year.

In most years over the past decade American buying activity has made up less than three per cent of the total and ranked as low as seventh in the league table of foreign purchasers.

The figures, compiled by agents Knight Frank, show that Americans have paid an average of £7.3 million for central London homes this year with Marylebone — particularly the streets south of Regent’s Park — Mayfair and Chelsea the most popular neighbourhoods.

That makes them the fifth biggest spenders behind the Saudis (£13.4 million), Turks (£10.8 million), Germans (£9.6 million) and Russians (£9.1 million).

Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank, said the pound’s weakness against the dollar since the Brexit referendum combined with weaker underlying prices had made London more affordable, but the huge sums being ploughed into the city by tech giants and hedge funds are the driving factor.

Mr Bailey said: “Irrespective of Brexit, London’s position as the European tech hub is undiminished and continuing to expand.

“There has been a significant uptick in demand for prime propertyfrom relocating US employees, entrepreneurs and business owners — especially from the tech sector.”

Recent major investment in London includes Google’s £1 billion European headquarters at King’s Cross, Facebook’s engineering hub at Rathbone Place near Oxford Circus and Amazon’s UK headquarters in Shoreditch.

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Another influence has been President Trump’s relaxation of tax laws governing repatriation of money held offshore which has freed hundreds of billions of dollars for investment in “blue chip” assets.

In January it emerged that billionaire US hedge fund manager Ken Griffin paid £95 million for a Grade II* listed Georgian mansion in Carlton Gardens near Buckingham Palace.

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