Recently, the Telegraph tried to get to the bottom of why so many wealthy Indians were buying homes (and art) in the UK. Christening them the Bollygarchs, Clive Aslet describes the appeal:
Although India is moving very fast in economic terms, entrepreneurs do not yet have access to sophisticated capital markets, such as those in London – and if you have a lot of money, it is nice to be near it.
Over the past couple of years, it is Indians who have made the market for homes costing over £10m. In this, the newcomers have followed the lead of Lakshmi Mittal, who bought a town palace in Kensington Park Gardens for £70m in 2003. The suave and immaculate Cyrus Vandrevala, a technology investor in his 30s, who started Intrepid Capital Partners, lived at Claridge’s for six months with his heiress wife Priya before buying somewhere for £20m at the end of 2008.
“The wealthy Indian community are not highly leveraged and are therefore in a perfect position to buy property at a hugely discounted rate,” he has said. Indians’ buying power has been enhanced by the weakening of the pound, particularly since many businessmen transact in dollars. While the Vandrevalas chose Holland Park, other Indian buyers have been drawn to Mayfair and St James’s. The hospitable Naresh Goyal, owner of the Jet Airways, India’s largest domestic airline, likes London so much that he more or less commutes to India from his town house overlooking Regent’s Park.
“Indians tend to like grand spaces for entertaining,” says Jonathan Hewlett of Savills, “as do the Russians” – a difference between the nationalities being that Indian families are often large, and may, as back home, live together, with several generations sharing the same property.
The Rise of the Bollygarchs (Telegraph)