Overseas buyers still eyeing UK property

New research indicates that an increased number of overseas buyers are looking at buying property in the UK despite ongoing concerns regarding Brexit.

According to property portal Placebuzz, searches for UK property by overseas buyers accounted for 6.2 per cent of all activity in the first three months of this year. In the first three months of 2016, prior to the Brexit referendum, just 3.6 per cent of searches for UK property on the portal came from overseas buyers.

“With sterling currently worth around 12 per cent less against the dollar than pre-referendum, buying UK property is a very shrewd move for foreign investors looking to secure a bargain,” said Neil Tillott, business director at property portal Placebuzz.

“Owning property in the UK is a goal of many overseas property investors and we’ve seen a clear rise in the proportion of searches for UK property which are taking place overseas since June 2016. Foreign buyers view the impact of Brexit chaos on house prices and the value of sterling as a rare opportunity to buy into the market at favourable prices, with a long-term view,” he added.

Indeed, a top London estate agency agrees that interest in the capital’s residential property from US and Indian buyers has soared over the last three years.

Analysis by Chestertons reveals that overseas buyers generally regard Brexit as a ‘short-term blip’ and that it is not detracting from London’s pedigree as a world city and safe haven for property.

The company’s most recent data shows that the US is its most active hotspot for overseas buyers in the first quarter of 2019, with visits to its website from the country up 85 per cent on the same period last year.

“There has been a noticeable increase in interest in London property from the US and India, mainly thanks to the weakness of the pound, coupled with the fact that prices have come down by as much as 20 per cent since the peak, therefore making London property a very attractive investment opportunity,” said Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons

However, while the prospect of Brexit may not be putting off buyers from further afield, Chestertons’ research shows that activity from buyers in EU countries is on the wane. It recorded falls in visits from Austria (34 per cent), France (16 per cent), Spain and Denmark (both 13 per cent) in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

Article published 13th May 2019