A report published by a British newspaper has revealed that Qatari investors are in possession of more property in London than the city’s mayor and even the Queen. The Telegraph said in a Friday report that Qatar has become one of the biggest landlords in the British capital over the past ten years, currently owning 24 million square feet of the city’s prime real estate.
Data from the research firm Datscha indicated that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) with almost 22 million square feet of space is the London’s largest property owner, three times more than that of the Queen with just under 7.3 million square feet.
The Qatari government also owns another 1.8 million square feet in the capital, putting the ownership ranking of the kingdom ahead of the City of London, Transport for London and Network Rail. Former head of the QIA, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, said last year that London was a preferred destination and that the Qatari investment into the United Kingdom real estate sector to date had amounted to 30 billion British pounds.
Statistics show that foreign investors tend to invest in the five main London areas of Kensington, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, the City and Canary Wharf. Qatar’s QIA now owns the site of the Chelsea Barracks, the Olympic Village and the Shard, along with Canary Wharf which contains some of the city’s largest buildings. Qatari advisors on financial matters argue that UK property is seen as a safe haven for overseas money and Britain is still considered much safer than their own country.