Stone bridge.
Bridge to China: 27 percent of overseas buyers of UK property are Chinese. Image: Winkworth.

By Guy O’Connell

The foreign rush for property in Fitzrovia has moved up a gear, with a new focus from China on the famous streets of the area.

Estate Agents — who’ve long posted leaflets in local letter boxes with news of rising sale prices — now offer direct interest from the other side of the world. 

Fitzrovia News has chronicled how the top penthouse apartments in the old Middlesex Hospital were marketed abroad for £10 million plus. Flats comprised of the former hospital workers accommodation at Cleveland Residences were offered up to overseas investors even before local tenants were asked to leave.

Now Estate Agent Winkworth has leafleted locals with news of its new China desk, urging them to “Reach out to a new market to sell your home.”

The Agency website explains: “[Our] offices have reported a marked increase in the number of Chinese investors looking to purchase UK property. Attracted by the prospect of stable growth, an excellent education system and the UK’s stable democracy, Chinese buyers have come to view [the] country as a very wise investment. We have responded to this demand by establishing our China desk.”

Local Councillor Adam Harrison who recently moved out of Fitzrovia because his rented flat was due to be developed into luxury apartments told Fitzrovia News: “Globally people are treating London property like investing in Gold. It’s scuppering us all who live here.”

Harrison’s own flatmate had been born at the Middlesex Hospital and ran a business in Fitzrovia for thirteen years until the landlord asked them to move on last year.

“One of the things people like most about Fitzrovia is its mixed community and diversity. Newer residents and older ones, too, tell us time and again they value the mix of homes. There’ve long been students, office workers, homeowners, council tenants, and private renters, too. Now the way London is going, the area is out of reach.”

London’s long felt the pressure of development opportunities and growth in population with the desire to find affordable homes. But Fitzrovia News challenges its readers to find another square of London that sees the same pressure as Fitzrovia does now. With the arrival of Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road, the possible development of Euston for the high speed rail link to the North, and the development of so many buildings — where in the capital has seen such a concentrated property rush?