London, Jan 22 (Agencies): Record numbers of rich Indians are swooping on high-end residential properties in London, thanks to a booming economy, favourable foreign exchange rates and rise in number of students here from affluent Indian families.

In the residential property market in which each house is worth 5 million pounds and above, Indians now figure as the second biggest foreign buyer group.

European buyers top the prime market, while Chinese buyers are third, behind Indians, according to Savills, a prominent estate agent.

"Indians are a force to be reckoned with this year as they continue to buy prime residences in London. The favourable exchange rate brought foreign investors to the city’s property market in 2010," head of research at Savills, Yolande Barnes, said.

Indians bought residential property worth 290 million pounds in the city's prestige areas of Mayfair, Belgravia, South Kensington, Chelsea and Holland Park during 2010.

"Indians have a preference for areas such as Mayfair, Belgravia, Regent's Park, St John's Wood," Jonathan Hewlett, head of Savills London, said.

"The super high net worth individuals (global billionaire status) look for very substantial properties at the very top of the price range, probably in the 50 million pounds plus bracket, while high net worth Indian buyers have budgets of 10 million pounds to 20 million pounds," he added.

The properties are reported to be second or third homes for a rising number of wealthy Indians, who now account for 7.3 per cent of all sales in 5 million pounds-plus residential property market in London.

This puts India ahead of the Asia-Pacific (7.2 per cent) in 2.6 billion super-prime real estate market here.

The average property in this segment is a four-bedroom house, with a room for domestic help, used as a second home by rich Indians or their children studying in the city.

The largest buyers in the super-prime segment here are still the British, who bought 40 per cent of the properties.

The city continues to lure Europeans, including residents of the former USSR, who hold a 20 per cent share.

London is said to be particularly attractive to the global super-rich because of its accessibility, stability, and the global standing of its financial institutions.