Record number of UAE students apply to UK universities increasing demand for new homes from Gulf’s buyers in Central London

Data from the UCAS admissions service confirms a record number of students from the UAE have applied to UK universities in 2022.

The UK is highly regarded as being home to some of the best public schools and prestigious universities in the world.  Throughout the Gulf region, wealthy Middle Easterners have long favoured setting up home in London to provide their children with a first class education.  The UAE’s own education system prepares students well for the transition to a UK university.

A spokesperson at UCAS commented, “Applications from UAE students to study here in the UK have increased by 17% since 2021, rising far quicker than many other countries beyond the EU.  This confirms the top global rankings held by the UK’s colleges and universities and the appeal for UAE undergraduates to study subject-specific degree courses, allowing them to focus on certain academic areas and benefit from small teaching groups.”

London is ranked second only to New York as the largest business and financial centre.  It offers extensive history, heritage and tradition, unrivalled architecture both traditional and contemporary. It’s a capital with a culturally rich population offering a cosmopolitan vibrant lifestyle.  Prime post codes, which include Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair, Kensington and Regent’s Park have long been popular property choices for UAE homebuyers and investors.  They are attracted to Prime Central London’s designer boutiques, established department stores, fine dining, exclusive private members clubs, and thriving arts and cultural landscape. 

Property across Prime Central London (PCL) offers very attractive business, second home and education investment for buyers from the UAE.  Whether it provides a luxury family home while their children attend high-ranking independent schools, or gives their older children a safe and comfortable home, conveniently located to study at one of London’s Russell Group universities.  

After graduation, many choose to remain in the UK, particularly London, because leading universities such as Imperial College and the London School of Economics offer cutting-edge research opportunities.  London also boasts some of the best commercial organisations and corporate talent in the world held in high esteem throughout the Gulf.

Easier international travel post pandemic, along with the pound hitting a low, its lowest against the dollar in two years and as the Saudi Riyal has risen, an increasing number of HNWI Gulf buyers are looking to invest to acquire a non-primary residence in London, or a property portfolio as a landlord.

Since 2006, Middle Eastern governments and sovereign funds have been particularly focused on the UK, buying development sites and high-value buildings worth a combined £4.4 billion. Currently, they operate nine of central London’s largest development sites, equating to 28,000 new homes.

Dennis Chan, Global Head of Sales at Chestertons New Homes, commented, “In first six months of 2022, the international ‘super-rich’ have bought 61 properties in excess of £10m with the highest volume of sales in 10 years, exceeding £1bn total sales.

We have seen record numbers of clients from the UAE actively buying and investing in new residential developments across London, which are close to universities and often in areas of the city which are enjoying large scale investment and undergoing a significant rejuvenation, such as the Elephant & Castle, where 251 Southwark is close to London South Bank University and London College of Communications; prices start from £653,000.  Other new developments also close to academic institutions and available to buy off-plan from £483,000 are Orchard Wharf, near Queen Mary’s York St John and University of Sunderland London.  In the West End, a stylish designer-inspired new residential scheme – Tottenham Court Road West , offers a great central base convenient to study at UCL and University of Westminster, with prices starting from £1,000,000.”

“Our UAE clients are happy to buy off-plan and favour new build duplex apartments and penthouses with two to three bedrooms, so that family can visit from overseas.  They expect a high quality finish, excellent choice of on-site amenities, and prefer the convenience of new homes being ready to move into, and where companies can furnish immediately.  Security and convenience are primary drivers when it comes to what our clients invest in London new homes – good security, gated developments, and secure private entrances to allow for low up and leave during holidays,” added Dennis Chan, Chestertons Global Head of Sales.

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