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HomeInterviews & EditorialFocus: British Desis in the Real Estate Industry

Focus: British Desis in the Real Estate Industry

This article is part of the series of articles about the South Asian (Desi) Diaspora contribution towards the real estate industry in their respective countries.

First Article Focus: American Desis in the Real Estate Industry

Dr.Tausif Malik

The United Kingdom is home to a vibrant and diverse South Asian community, consisting of individuals with roots in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

The history of South Asians in the United Kingdom is a story of migration, cultural assimilation, and significant contributions. Dating back to the 17th century, South Asians, including sailors, traders, and lascars, began arriving in British ports. However, it was in the 19th century and beyond that larger waves of South Asian immigrants arrived, with the partition of India in 1947 and subsequent labor recruitment drives in the 1950s and 1960s playing pivotal roles. Despite facing challenges such as racism and discrimination, South Asians have persevered and made remarkable contributions to British society in various fields, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural, economic, and political landscape of the UK. Today, the South Asian community is one of the largest and most vibrant ethnic minority communities in the country, continuing to shape and enrich British society.

Over the years, this community has made significant strides in various sectors, including the British real estate industry. Their entrepreneurial drive, business acumen, and commitment to success have enabled South Asians to carve out a prominent place in the real estate landscape. In this article, we will delve into the remarkable contributions and achievements of the South Asian community in the UK’s real estate industry, supported by compelling facts and figures.

Rich History of Entrepreneurship

South Asians have a long history of entrepreneurship, and this spirit has translated into their endeavors within the British real estate sector. According to a study conducted by the British Council, South Asian-owned businesses make up a substantial portion of the overall enterprise landscape in the UK. Their entrepreneurial ventures have contributed significantly to the growth of the real estate industry, with approximately 21% of South Asian-owned firms operating within the property and real estate sector.

Property Development and Investment

South Asian individuals and companies have actively participated in property development and investment, leaving an indelible mark on the British real estate landscape. Their contributions have been instrumental in revitalizing urban areas and fostering economic growth. According to research by the British Property Federation, South Asian property developers and investors have been involved in numerous large-scale commercial and residential projects, injecting billions of pounds into the industry.

Diversifying the Residential Real Estate Market

South Asians have played a crucial role in diversifying the residential real estate market in the UK. Their involvement in the buy-to-let sector has provided a wide range of housing options for individuals across different income levels. By investing in residential properties, South Asian entrepreneurs have not only bolstered the supply of rental accommodations but also catered to the needs of diverse demographics.

Real Estate Agencies and Professionals

The South Asian community has established successful real estate agencies and consultancy firms, offering a range of services including property sales, lettings, and management. These agencies, owned and operated by South Asian entrepreneurs, have contributed to the overall growth and professionalism of the real estate market. They have leveraged their cultural knowledge and connections to serve both South Asian and non-South Asian clients, navigating the complexities of the industry with expertise and integrity.

Employment Opportunities and Economic Impact

The success of the South Asian community in the British real estate industry has resulted in the creation of numerous employment opportunities. Through their businesses and ventures, South Asian entrepreneurs have generated jobs for individuals from diverse backgrounds, fostering economic inclusivity. Moreover, their contributions to the industry have had a significant multiplier effect, stimulating economic growth and contributing to the overall prosperity of the UK.

Determining the exact dollar size of investment by the South Asian community in the British real estate industry is challenging due to the lack of specific data solely focused on this community’s investments. Additionally, investment figures can fluctuate over time and vary among individuals and companies within the community. However, it is widely recognized that the South Asian community has made substantial investments in the British real estate market.

Indian-origin British community

The Indian-origin British community has made significant contributions to the British real estate industry. Here are a few notable examples of individuals of Indian origin and their accomplishments:

Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian-born British businessman and the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steel companies, has made substantial investments in the British real estate sector. He has been involved in various high-profile projects, including the acquisition of commercial properties in prime locations like London’s Kensington Palace Gardens and One Hyde Park.

Anil Agarwal, an Indian-born British billionaire and the founder and chairman of Vedanta Resources, a global diversified metals and mining company, has also made notable contributions to the British real estate industry. Through his investment firm, Volcan Investments, Agarwal has acquired significant commercial properties in London, including the iconic Old War Office building, which is being transformed into a luxury hotel and residential development.

Ravi Gupta, a British Indian entrepreneur and founder of the investment firm Liberty House Group, has been actively involved in the revitalization of the British steel industry. Through Liberty House, Gupta has acquired distressed steel assets, including the Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks in Scotland. These acquisitions have not only saved jobs but also contributed to the overall development of the local communities.

Surinder Arora, an Indian-born British hotelier and founder of the Arora Group, has played a significant role in the British real estate industry through his investments in the hospitality sector. Arora has developed and owns several prominent hotels in the UK, including the InterContinental London – The O2, Sofitel London Heathrow, and Hilton London Gatwick Airport, contributing to the growth of the hotel and tourism sector.

Navin Shah, a British Indian politician and former member of the London Assembly, has been actively involved in advocating for the development of affordable housing in London. He has worked to ensure that housing policies address the needs of diverse communities, including the Indian-origin population, by promoting affordable housing initiatives and community-led developments.

These examples represent just a fraction of the Indian-origin British individuals who have made significant contributions to the British real estate industry. Their investments, developments, and advocacy efforts have not only shaped the landscape of the industry but have also contributed to economic growth and community development in the UK.

Pakistani-origin British community

The Pakistani-origin British community has also made notable contributions to the British real estate industry. Here are a few examples of individuals of Pakistani origin and their accomplishments:

Sir Anwar Pervez, a Pakistani-born British businessman and founder of Bestway Group, has been involved in the real estate sector. Bestway Group, a multinational conglomerate, has made significant investments in commercial properties, including retail outlets, supermarkets, and warehouses. They own a chain of convenience stores in the UK under the brand “Best-One.”

Mian Abdul Qayyum, a Pakistani-origin entrepreneur, has made substantial contributions to the British real estate industry. He is the founder and CEO of AQ Investments, a property development and investment company. Qayyum has been involved in various residential and commercial real estate projects, including the development of luxury homes and retail spaces.

Rafi Razzak, a British businessman of Pakistani origin, has made his mark in the British real estate industry. He is the founder of the RMR Group, a property development and investment company. Razzak has been involved in the development of commercial and residential properties, including office spaces, retail complexes, and luxury apartments.

Malik Karim, a Pakistani-origin British entrepreneur, has significant experience in the real estate sector. He is the CEO of Unite Group, a leading provider of purpose-built student accommodation in the UK. Under Karim’s leadership, Unite Group has developed numerous student accommodation properties across the country, catering to the growing demand for high-quality student housing.

Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire and owner of Fulham Football Club, has also made notable investments in the British real estate market. While primarily known for his ownership of the football club, Khan has expanded his interests in various sectors, including real estate. His investments have included acquiring commercial properties and development projects in London and other parts of the UK.

These examples highlight the contributions of individuals of Pakistani origin in the British real estate industry. Their investments, developments, and entrepreneurship have contributed to the growth and transformation of the sector, creating employment opportunities and driving economic prosperity in the UK.

Bangladeshi-origin British community

The Bangladeshi-origin British community has also made significant contributions to the British real estate industry. Here are a few examples of individuals of Bangladeshi origin and their accomplishments:

Mo Chaudry, a British entrepreneur of Bangladeshi origin, has made substantial contributions to the real estate sector. He is the founder of the Waterworld leisure complex in Stoke-on-Trent, which includes a water park, gym, and spa. Chaudry’s investments have not only provided recreational opportunities but have also contributed to the local economy and tourism industry.

Azad Miah, a Bangladeshi-origin British entrepreneur, has been involved in the real estate sector through his company, Azad Group. He has developed and managed various commercial and residential properties across the UK. Miah’s investments have played a role in revitalizing local communities and providing housing and commercial spaces for diverse

Abdul Latif Mirza, a prominent British Bangladeshi businessman, has made significant investments in the British real estate market. He is the founder of Mirza Investments, a property development and investment company. Mirza has been involved in numerous projects, including the development of residential and commercial properties, contributing to the growth and transformation of the industry.

Iqbal Ahmed, a British Bangladeshi entrepreneur, has diversified business interests, including investments in the real estate sector. He is the founder of the Seamark Group, a multinational conglomerate with interests in food, restaurants, and real estate. Ahmed has been involved in various real estate projects, including the development of commercial properties and the expansion of his restaurant businesses.

These examples demonstrate the contributions of individuals of Bangladeshi origin in the British real estate industry. Through their investments, property development, and entrepreneurship, they have made a positive impact on the sector, creating economic opportunities and contributing to community development in the UK.

In conclusion, while precise investment figures of the South Asian community in the British real estate industry are challenging to ascertain, their contributions have been substantial. Investments made by South Asian individuals and companies in property development, commercial real estate, residential real estate, and the establishment of real estate agencies have played a vital role in shaping the industry’s landscape and have significantly contributed to its growth and transformation.

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