Bloomberg reports that Russian investors increased their share of luxury-home purchases in London’s most expensive neighborhoods more than any other group in the fourth quarter, Hamptons International said, as Vladimir Putin bids to regain the presidency in March amid growing opposition.
Russians accounted for 16 percent of all transactions in the Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge and Belgravia neighborhoods handled by the London-based broker, according to a report today. That was up from 5 percent in the previous three months and 1 point more the combined total for European Union countries.
“It’s a precaution against things going too far in the wrong direction,” Adam Challis, head of residential research, said by phone. “The very well-connected folk realized that there was going to be some serious political uncertainty and that they’re better off putting their money into London property.”
Russian Prime Minister Putin faces the biggest challenge to his rule since coming to power 12 years ago after allegations of fraud in Dec. 4 legislative polls sparked mass protests. Putin’s voter support has fallen to 37 percent, according to an opinion poll by the independent Levada Center, indicating he will need to face one of the four opposition candidates in a second-round run-off.