Ukraine unrest boosts London’s housing market


A penthouse in London, apparently sold to a Russian buyer for 225 million U.S. dollars, has set a new record by becoming Britain’s most expensive apartment, according to London media publication Property Week.

According to property experts, the transaction reveals wealthy people in Russia and Ukraine are moving large sums of cash overseas, as the region’s ongoing tensions threaten to destabilize the two countries’ economies.

Britain’s high-end property market has long been a barometer of international unrest. Its comparative financial stability offers a safe haven for the wealth of the World’s super rich in times of trouble.

Global property advisers Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) say capital is fleeing Russia and Ukraine in order to seek security elsewhere, as the regional conflict intensifies.

“Wealthy individuals and families that see a potential downside risk of retaining capital in Russia and the Ukraine. So, they need to shift that capital into places where frankly it’ll perform better, but probably more importantly, protect the existing position is the real motive at the moment,” said Adam Challis, head of Residential Research at JLL.

According to research by international estate agent Savills, Russian buyers spent around 300 million U.S. dollars in London’s housing market last year.

Since average prices have been rising at 18 percent a year, even before the latest influx of East European money, there were fears that London’s property market could be overheating.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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