London’s demographic is indeed changing. Definitive statistics are elusive, but it is widely recognized that over the past five years wealthy foreigners have been buying up houses and apartments in the British capital, to use as residences or as lucrative “safe haven” investments.
From June 2012 to June 2013, 49 percent of all “prime” real estate transactions in central London — worth 1 million pounds, or about $1.6 million, or more — were made by foreign buyers, according to a report published in October 2013 by the real estate broker Knight Frank.
More recently, Knight Frank has reported that more ultrawealthy people live in London than in any other city in the world. Surveys suggest that 4,000 to 6,000 people with an ultrahigh net worth, of at least $30 million in liquid assets, have residences in London.
This is transforming London, including its art market, in many ways. Branches of megagalleries such as Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and Pace offer high-end contemporary art to London’s international collectors, while long-established local fairs, such as the London Art Fair and the 20/21 British Art Fair, struggle to retain quality exhibitors.
The Rise of the Boutique Fair (NYTimes.com)