Wealthy foreign buyers from the GCC have for years been attracted to London homes as a stable investment and a safe-haven for their money, particularly when they live in politically unstable countries. London remains the main beneficiary of investment, receiving 24% from £11.5 billion of all GCC international investment. Led by investors from GCC, foreign buyers snapped up 3,600 of London’s 28,000 newly built homes between 2014 and 2016, according to the most comprehensive survey yet of international investment in London housing 59% of all overseas buyers were based in four countries in GCC. GCC investors were behind a record 42 per cent of property transactions in the City of London during the six months, to the value of £6.15bn, underscoring the demand for property at a time of uncertainty and weak sterling.
The past decade and a half has seen immense growth in the number of GCC students completing their university education abroad. Overall, 47,520 students from the GCC were studying in the UK last year, constituting just over 8% of all international students in the UK. GCC students paid an estimated £288 million in tuition fees to UK universities. Out of 438,010 international students travelling to the UK to study GCC ranks top 10. Supporting 206,600 full-time jobs.
During the first nine months of 2016, there were 606,000 visits from the GCC to the UK, a historic high for any January to September period, with visitors splashing out a record total £1.1 billion (Dh5.02bn).
GCC national spend increased by 70 per cent year-on-year in the month of July 2016. GCC are some of the UK’s highest international spenders, splashing an average £2,198 per visit, more than three times that of any other group. They also stay longer than most international visitors with an average length of stay of 15 nights, compared to an average of eight nights for other markets.
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