English-speaking nations lead the field with the USA, Australia, Canada and Ireland all in the top five.
Residents including both British expats and nationals in the USA top the leader board, representing over one fifth (21%) of the total number of searches conducted from outside the UK during 2011, while Australia represented almost one in ten searches (9%), followed by Canada (7%) and Ireland (5%).
The property portal said 14% of all property searches on PrimeLocation.com within the UK originate overseas.
Nigel Lewis, property analyst at PrimeLocation.com, said: “London leads the charge here and in recent months many agents have reported up to 60% of buyers hailing from overseas, which has helped drive up demand and therefore prices in central London exponentially and by 7.37% over the past year alone.
“Many British expats are also likely to be keeping an eye on the UK property market with a view to one day returning to live in the UK.
“Purchases of UK residential properties by overseas buyers have been increasing over the last few years and we expect that this interest will remain undiminished going into 2012.”
Philip Green, director of estate agent Goldschmidt & Howland, agreed: “We deal with a large number of American clients looking for London property so it’s no surprise to me that they are high up on this list.
“There is a strong demand for property surrounding International schools and The American School and it’s particularly buoyant in the rental sector.
“This is equally the case for Australians. Most of the prime homes being bought by non-Brits in London are Russians buying at the top end and Chinese looking for investment properties but they aren’t buying in large enough numbers – just very high prices instead.”
The top ten
United States 21%
South Africa 2%