Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties

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A house of property in England and Wales owned by overseas firms is held by things registered in the British Virgin Islands, BBC analysis has found.

The Caribbean archipelago is the sanctioned home of companies that own 23,000 properties — more than any other boondocks.

They are owned by 11,700 firms registered in the overseas territory.

The determination emerged from BBC analysis conducted of Land Registry data on abroad property ownership.

The research found there are around 97,000 traits in England and Wales held by overseas firms, as of January 2018.

It adds to reference ti that companies registered in British-controlled tax havens have been cast-off to avoid tax.


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Map raised by Carto. If you can’t see the map, please click here to open the same story on the BBC Good copy website.

Note: Property locations are approximate based on the centre place of the postcode they fall into. As such they have been carry away when the map is zoomed to the most detailed levels. Ownership information have a weakness for the company name and country refer to the ultimate owner of the property, not as a result the person or company that may rent or occupy the property.


Close behind the British Virgin Eyots (BVI), which has a population of just 30,600, are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Of the traits owned by overseas companies in England and Wales, two thirds are registered to solids in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Many unrelated UK property owners are also officially headquartered in Hong Kong, Panama and Ireland.

The criticism provides a new picture of ownership of property by overseas companies in England and Wales keep up with a decision last November to make the database public and free to access.

It ground:

  • Close to half (44%) of all properties owned by overseas companies in England and Wales are established in London
  • More than one in ten (11,500) properties owned by overseas parties in England and Wales are located in the City of Westminster
  • More than 6,000 resources owned by foreign companies are in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The regime of the British Virgin Islands said it was incorrect to label the country as a tax haven.

It chance that there were many practical reasons why UK properties power be owned by companies incorporated in the BVI.

It argued that BVI companies can bring together multiple investors and holders, which is useful for big commercial property deals that have investors in more than one boonies.

The BVI also said that it shared «necessary information» including ownership squads with relevant authorities.

Among those entries in the database that bared a price, the most expensive was the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard, at 8-10 Broadway.

The neighbourhood was purchased by the Abu Dhabi Financial Group in 2014 for £370m from the Mayor of London’s thing. But it is officially owned by a Jersey-based company called BL Development.

The 1967 multi-storey impediment has now been demolished to make way for «a luxury collection of one to five bedroom apartments across six architecturally splendid towers». These range in price from £1.5m to more than £10m.

The leasehold of Admiralty First, the former government building off Trafalgar Square that straddles one end of The Mall, was pushed to hotel developer Prime Investments for £141m. It is registered to a Guernsey-based quiddity, Admiralty Arch Hotels Ltd.

While the most expensive buildings are commercial worths such as hotels and office blocks in prime central London puttings, many are residential properties rather than business premises.

Receive Green Street, London W1 — a residential street of highly-desirable four-storey redbrick Victorian terraces, represented by smart wrought-iron railings.

Walking east to west you’ll pass one terraced stay owned, according to the latest records, from the Turks and Caicos Keys by a company called Alliance Property Ltd. Next door is another domicile owned by Lily Holding & Finance Inc, registered in BVI.

In all, 15 properties on the way are owned by companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, four in Jersey and one in the Isle of Man. Others enjoy owners in Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Accountants used to stand up for using an offshore company to overseas buyers of property in the UK as a means of shunning inheritance tax when the owner passed away.

«Until April 2017, if you weren’t householder in the UK and held a residential property via a company it was not counted as being an asset for UK-based birthright tax purposes. So having a property through an offshore company meant you seeped inheritance tax,» says Mark Giddens, of accountants and consultants UHY Hacker Green.

However, since last year the government announced plans to seal the loophole, dramatically reducing the attractions of offshore ownership of residential attribute.

Offshore jurisdictions such as BVI still offer buyers who wish to hold their names out of the public realm greater privacy than they command enjoy if they purchased their property as an individual.

While uncountable tax havens have agreed to take part in automatic information the Street, allowing law enforcement agencies to discover the individuals who enjoy beneficial ownership of an offshore entourage, their names will not appear in the published data.

Only forth a third of the properties in the dataset have figures for the «price paid» by the convention. This is because HM Land Registry has only been collecting this gen since October 2013, so information on properties sold overseas in the presence of then will not have been recorded.

Adding up the 27,835 realties whose most recent sale prices we know, the price refunded was just over £55 billion.

Notes: The BBC analysed the January 2018 Abroad Companies Ownership data made public by the HM Land Registry. The statistics is accurate up to January 2018 and contains around 97,000 title recordings of freehold and leasehold property in England and Wales, registered to companies coalesced outside the UK. The map shows 71,000 of the 97,000 addresses. Those missing had unaccomplished data.

Additional data journalism Ransome Mpini and Daniele Palumbo.

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