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Rising number of properties owned by foreign-registered firms

The government response to a Freedom of Information request has shed light on the increasing number of homes in England and Wales in foreign ownership.

Lettings agency Benham and Reeves submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Land Registry and the response shows that: -

- There are some 280,021 homes registered to foreign homeowners, with individual homeowners accounting for 67 per cent of these homes, versus 33 per cent being owned by overseas companies;


- This number has increased by 3.2 per cent in the last year, with the North West (5.4 per cent), the West Midlands (4.9 per cent) and London (4.0 per cent) seeing the largest increases of all regions;

- London is also home to by far the most properties owned by foreign owners, with the 103,425 in the current market equating to 36.9 per cent of all foreign owned homes across England and Wales. This is more than double that of the next most prominent region, the South East, where 47,862 homes are currently registered to overseas owners or companies;

- At local authority level, Dacorum has seen the largest annual increase up 18.8 per cent, followed by Tameside (16.7), Salford (12.8), Tower Hamlets (12.2), Slough (11.2), Manchester (11.1), Halton (10.8), South Hams (10.8), Sevenoaks (10.6) and Maldon (10.5 per cent);

- However, where the highest volume of foreign owned homes is concerned, Westminster (16,667), Tower Hamlets (9,403) and Kensington and Chelsea (9,387) sit top of the table, followed by Liverpool (8,185) and Buckinghamshire (6,831);

- Looking solely within the capital, Tower Hamlets has seen the largest annual uplift, with 12.2 per cent more foreign owned homes versus a year ago.  Haringey has seen a considerable increase of 8.4 per cent, while Wandsworth (7.9), Hackney (7.3) and Ealing (6.6 per cent) rank within the top five. 


Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, comments: “With pandemic induced travel restrictions now a distant memory, foreign homebuyers are once again setting their sights on the property market across England and Wales and we’ve seen a consistent increase in demand over the last year.

“London has traditionally been their destination of choice and the capital still ranks top of the table in terms of the sheer volume of foreign homeowners within the market. However, we are also seeing a strong uplift in market activity up and down the nation and there are comparatively very few areas where the level of foreign homeownership has dropped on an annual basis. 

“This diverse spread of activity from foreign shores is particularly welcome at a time when the domestic market has been cooling to a degree and should help to ensure that house prices remain robust and any fears of a market downturn are avoided.

“We expect the level of foreign interest to continue to climb over the coming year as currently, many overseas buyers are dipping a toe within the rental market to try before they buy, committing to a purchase once they have found the right neighbourhood to suit their individual needs.”

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  • icon

    London can be a good parking space for foreign money, many properties sitting empty for yrs

  • icon

    Am I considered a foreign owner in this survey? As a British Citizen who retired abroad but maintained my portfolio in the UK. Presumably there are a few thousand other individual Brits the same as me who are not actually foreigners, rather expatriates.

  • icon

    Fantastic way to launder money, but then again the conservatives know this already 🤐🤔

  • John  Adams

    Those pesky overseas companies pop up, when all you are trying to do is make a living as a small farmer..

    Prince Charles’s private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, secretly invested in an offshore company which lobbied to change climate agreements, documents from the Paradise Papers have revealed.

    Sustainable Forestry Ltd lobbied politicians to amend global agreements to allow ‘carbon credits’ from rainforests to be traded.

    The Prince made speeches in support of this – and his estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, tripled its investment in Sustainable Forestry in the space of a year. It is not clear why this was.

    The Duchy says the prince has no direct involvement in investment decisions.

    Prince Charles denies ever speaking on a topic simply because of a company the Duchy may have invested in.

    Find out more about the Paradise Papers.

    7 November 2017


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