Students trump bankers for luxury London homes

Mon Jul 9, 2012 6:52am EDT
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By Brenda Goh

LONDON (Reuters) - Floor to ceiling windows, chairs by French designer Philippe Starck, four-poster beds and a short walk from the Louis Vuitton store on London's Bond Street.

These are no ordinary student digs.

Apartments for rent in London's most exclusive neighborhoods have traditionally been the preserve of bankers. As the potency of the financial sector wanes, they are increasingly let to children of the international super-rich studying at the city's universities.

"I chose the place and then asked my parents whether it was alright," said Sumiro, a 21-year old Indonesian student who will be living alone in the 895 pound-a-week ($1,400) two-bedroom apartment with the Philippe Starck chairs when he starts university in September.

Another attraction were his numerous friends living nearby, he said.

Unlike the stereotypical British students who squeeze into cramped flats and shop in budget stores, the offspring of the super-rich exhibit a taste for luxury furnishings, in-house gyms and cleaners that visit twice a week.

"They're looking for a hotel room," said Naomi Heaton, chief executive of residential fund manager London Central Portfolio (LCP), which has students from Russia, China and Saudi Arabia renting homes in an overall property portfolio worth 500 million pounds.

"Many of them would have experienced a fairly sophisticated lifestyle, travelling around the world business class. Their requirements are similar to that of corporate tenants."   Continued...