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The shadow £7 billion: How offshore funds bolster UK property market

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Last year saw £7 billion worth of offshore funds invested in potentially tax-exempt purchases of UK property

According to an investigation by The Guardian, a series of high-profile properties in London including apartments in Richard Rogers’ One Hyde Park have been sold to companies benefitting from offshore secrecy.

The newspaper claimed the country has become a ‘property speculators’ haven’, fuelled by the anonymity of offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and tax loopholes.

Recent sales to BVI registered companies include Riverside House which sold for £97 million and Ralph Erskine’s Ark in Hammersmith which changed hands for £30 million.

Around 80 per cent of properties within One Hyde Park – where apartments range from £3 million to £136 million – were sold to BVI entities, the report claimed.

Offshore purchases have contributed to rocketing property values in London. Prices in ‘prime central London’ have increased 49 per cent since early 2009, five times the rate of the UK as a whole according to estate agents Knight Frank.

 

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