Swiss to cash in on franc fracas and buy London homes

Swiss investors could be mulling an immediate move into London's property market in order to capitalize on the soaring Swiss franc, a specialist asset management firm predicted Friday.

London Central Portfolio (LCP), which specializes in investing in "prime" central London residential property, said it had already seen "a number of inquiries from Swiss-based wealth managers and potential investors looking to move their money into central London real estate," in a statement.


A banner advertising new 'Luxury' apartments in the East End of London.
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A banner advertising new 'Luxury' apartments in the East End of London.

The news came after the Swiss central bank stunned markets on Thursday by announcing an end to its three-year-long currency cap against the euro.

The news saw the Swiss franc soar as much as 30 percent against the euro and 25 percent against the U.S. dollar.

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"Swiss investors taking the opportunity to capitalize on this windfall and hedge against increasing global uncertainty in the equity and bond markets are turning their attention to blue-chip tangible assets," said LCP.

The firm said that "prime" central London real estate— which includes some of the world's most desirable addresses in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster—was a "safe haven" asset class that benefited from global uncertainty.

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In the LCP statement, specialist London Mortgage Broker Tim Kemp, CEO of Kemp Private Finance, said: "Overnight, Central London has become a much more attractive investment for my Swiss clients. I have already received numerous calls this morning from investors wanting to agree finance quickly to move their money out of Switzerland."

LCP noted that its fund "London Central Apartments II" had seen 15 inquiries from Swiss investors on Friday morning alone.

"Unlike the rest of Europe, who account for 49 percent of LCP's investor base, the Swiss, to date, have not traditionally represented a large buying force in the marketplace," said the firm, which has around $1 billion of asset under management.

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