377: Why Great Britain?
What’s The Joke? The British have the habit of doing themselves down. Making jokes of themselves. Pandering for things abroad and not quite realising how brilliant their own country actually is.
Why London? Just consider this - why do you think London is the most popular tourist and international property investment city in Europe? Why does London attract the best international talent in the world? To list a few reasons:
· Cool climate in the summer, relatively warm in the winter (snow not common)
· History, culture, art, exhibitions, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, theatre, cinema, rock
· Fashion, trendy locations, rock bands and music
· English language
· Parks, river, countryside, villages, history, architecture, scenery
· Beautiful coastal scenery, beaches, fishing villages
· Hills and mountains of Wales, Peaks and Cumbria within 200miles of London
· Highlands of Scotland
· Low crime rate
· Very low armed crime
· Very low levels or terrorism, kidnapping, assault - no secret police or oppression
· Education, schools, universities
· Museums, art galleries
· Big Parks – Richmond, Hyde, Regents, Blackheath, Victoria
· Fairly stable economic climate
· Cosmopolitan free environment – diversity and equality
· Low pollution levels compared to most big cities (enough wind)
· Excellent central location for airline connections to Europe, North America, Asia and Middle East
· An island, with nuclear power – good defences – almost no chance of invasion
· Safe enough to cycle on the roads
· Different districts of London have different expatriate communities with associated cultural amenities
· Huge coastline – unpolluted
· Clean plentiful water and food
· Excellent and safe public transport – rail, tube, bus, taxi, car, roads (consider Los Angeles of Cape Town by comparison)
· Good restaurants
· Fairly low taxes for wealth no-doms
· Good range of property – with prices stable or rising
· Women’s rights, human rights and gay rights – all upper ten percentile
Deficit Reduction: Add to this the current government's drive to reduce the deficit, increase the private sector and reduce the public sector to create a growing sustainable economy (with less debt burden) and its any wander international property investors are piling into London. They see a stable UK Sterling and good outlook for the UK economy compared to many places like the USA and Italy.
Peak Oil Hedge: As Peak Oil starts to drag economies down, the UK is fairly well protected because it only imports 10% of its oil needs and 35% of its gas needs – albeit this is set to deteriorate after the Chancellors shocking tax hike on the North Sea announced in the last budget March 2011.
Banker Bashing Subsiding: The current government has also slowed down recently on its "banker bashing" rhetoric which is probably just as well and enough to persuade the bankers to stay put in London and not leave for Switzerland or Hong Kong.
Places To Visit: Within an hour’s train ride or car drive from London you can be at the beach in Brighton, or in the beautiful countryside of the Surrey Hills, Chilterns or North Downs. Just three hours by train gets you to Cumbria – beautiful mountains, clean air, lovely lakes. The road, rail and tube system are well developed compared with most countries.
Airports: Three international airports are available within 50 minutes train ride.
Super-Rich Playground: For the super-wealthy there is every conceivable investment tool, fund or business service you may need to maximise your returns based in the City of London or Canary Wharf. There are excellent broadband facilities, telecommunications and a similar time-zone to most of Western Europe and Africa. It’s also mid way between Tokyo and New York in travel time and time-zones – hence handy for early and late business with both business locations.
Education: One the key reasons why London attracts so many super rich people is because of the excellent private education available in many different languages along with an open and culturally diverse environment. In summary – people feel at home and safe in London – not threatened and welcome. This attracts the very richest families. The Universities are also excellent – many in London, with Oxford and Cambridge close-by.
Ideas and Innovation: As far as the indigenous population is concerned, Britain has so many very well educated intelligent people with so many ideas and good work ethic that it will always pull through bad times. Britain has proved this before – in 1945 and 1975 – it can improve and prosper after set-backs.
Population Healthy: The population is rising, but not too quickly – a healthy mix of older and younger people. Riots are very infrequent, well controlled, small and not very dangerous. It's difficult to envisage London or Britain going “pear shaped” unlike many of other global cities or countries (e.g. Karachi, Cape Town, Rio, Los Angeles, Middle Eastern areas).
Debt Reduction: Yes, things are a bit tricky at the moment with the gigantic debt left by the previous government, but in a few years this should be sorted out and the economy will be on better footing. The UK is also well protected from the ravages of Peak Oil – better than all other Western European countries except Norway. It should keep it’s AAA rating and seems on a firmer footing than even the USA at the moment.
Positive Outlook: Overall – the long term outlook for Britain remains fairly positive with the current government in power. As oil prices rise, the global recession starts again, it’s quite probably the UK will not be as badly impacted as most other western countries. Although Britain would not expect property prices to rise significantly in 2011 and 2012 even in London, we think it’s a pretty safe place to invest cash into residential property – particularly west London which is so popular with rich international people. Considering how much money can be lost quickly in stocks and shares, or in a banking crisis, property in London looks like a good place to park serious cash.
Taken For Granted: If you are a UK citizen and resident in the UK you might think some of these positive attributes are not worth mentioning. But anyone who has travelling extensively, lived abroad or comes from Africa or the Middle East will understand fully just how liberal and open the culture is – where there are real opportunities for people to develop and where the lifestyle is good and relatively safe and secure. Amenities like the tube and rail one tends to take for granted – but not many cities around the world have such an excellent safe network so one can cheaply get around the city even late at night.
We hope this Special Report has been helpful in framing just why London in particular and Britain still remains an attractive destination for both national and foreign investment in property. If you have any comments, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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