There has been an increase in the number of overseas investors taking advantage of effective discounts caused by sterling’s nosedive after the Brexit vote by acquiring property in Britain.
A weaker exchange rate means that UK property is now a lot cheaper for foreign buyers, particularly for those paying in dollars and euros.
Historically, many overseas buyers have targeted London’s wealthiest areas, but various reports suggest that more international buyers are now looking at cheaper areas across the country that offer better value for money homes and higher rental yields.
Mortgage enquiries from overseas buyers and British expats rose 45% in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarter, according to the mortgage division of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.
The observation from deVere Mortgages, part of deVere United Kingdom and deVere Group, which offers advice to British expats and foreign nationals looking to buy property in the UK, comes against a shifting political and economic landscape.
Mitch Hopkinson, head of advice at deVere United Kingdom, said: “deVere Mortgages has received an unprecedented level of enquiries this last quarter. There has been a remarkable uptick in home loan enquiries in quarter four – and we’ve not yet even finished it.”
“To analyse these findings, first it should be acknowledged that they are more astonishing given that the government’s change in tax policy regarding buy-to-let in recent years was expected to severely dampened overseas investor interest.
“Also Brexit appears not to have dented the UK’s traditional boast of being an attractive country for those residing overseas, largely due to the ongoing fundamental strengths of British residential property investments.”
He continued: “With sterling down sharply since the Brexit vote, UK property has effectively put a ‘for sale’ sign up for the many overseas investors who want to establish a presence in the UK. These might include investors simply wishing to diversify their property portfolio, or UK expats looking to buy a place to return to when they retire or to house a child while they are at university.
“These investors are looking to buy now while a weak sterling works in their favour. As we appear to be increasingly moving to a ‘soft’ Brexit, sterling has already climbed in recent weeks. The more ‘soft’ Brexit the government becomes, the more sterling will rally.
“Another reason to buy now is that UK sterling mortgages have probably one way to go now: up. Record low mortgage rates are being pulled as sterling funding costs go up for the banks and other lenders, reflecting the increased risk of inflation in the economy.”