Hong Kong investors are currently the largest single group of overseas owners of properties along the UK’s premier high street.
According to international real estate advisor Savills, for 21.1 per cent of non-UK owned stores along London’s famous Oxford Street are owned by the autonomous territory in south-east China.
After Hong Kong, the next largest share of non-UK owned stores on the street is held by investors from Ireland (15.8 per cent), followed by Spain (14.9 per cent), Abu Dhabi (8.8 per cent) and Qatar (7.9 per cent).
While historically they largely focussed on western half of Oxford Street, Savills said confidence based on occupational demand linked to the Crossrail development has seen Hong Kong ownership on the eastern half rise by 66.7 per cent since December 2014.
Savills added that while 53.4 per cent of stores on west Oxford Street are non-UK owned, the greatest uplift has been on east Oxford Street where international ownership has risen from 22.2 per cent to 41.9 per cent since December 2014.
Savills Oxford Street specialist Sam Foyle highlighted the “interesting appeal” of the street’s eastern end.
“Obviously the Crossrail story is compelling, but factor in the possible pedestrianisation and the volume of new office development envisaged for that end of the street, and it is apparent that the footfall and spend dynamics is set to receive a real boost,” Foyle said.
“This is attracting the retailers and in turn the investors.”
Savills retail research director Marie Hickey said increased international ownership on Oxford Street has largely derived from UK institutional funds selling assets.
“Their ownership of units has fallen 37.8 per cent overall since December 2014, with a more dramatic decline of 46.2 per cent on the eastern side,” she said.
“Ultimately, increased international ownership has been and will continue to be a good thing for the street, bringing with it investment and value add initiatives which in turn attract new retailers.”