While the London property market is enduring reported price falls for the first time in recent memory, one group of buyers is making the most of any post-Brexit uncertainty to get as much as they can from the market, according to a report on BBC Online.
As Sterling suffered record falls following the EU referendum result and has yet to recover to an significant extent, foreign investors are snapping up properties at an effective discount of up to 15 per cent on exchange rates alone. In addition, those investors are now looking outside of the super-prime Central London zones in order to find the value they seek, allied to a conveniently reduced tax exposure.
Overseas buyers, very often from cash-rich Asian economies, are looking to new developments in cheaper zones outside of Central London, which allows them to purchase multiple units at one time, and leads them into direct competition with first time buyers, who are understandably nervous in the wake of a vote to leave the EU. When considering the Sterling to Dollar exchange rate, buyers are seeing the value of their foreign currency investment sitting up to 15 per cent higher than before the referendum.
Buying properties like these at a lower price means that in some cases investors are able to more than halve their tax bill, compared to buying one property for the same total investment in overheated prime areas of the capital. The additional advantages of buying in the outer zones of the city are a degree of hedging of risk by renting out multiple properties and the potential for enhanced price development compared to the highest end of the market.
While the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and other leading commentators are critical of too many foreign investors pushing up prices and dominating the available stock, effectively pushing new buyers out of the capital’s property market, developers say overseas buyers are currently the only thing keeping the London market afloat.
Meanwhile, the FT reports that the latest HomeLet Rental index demonstrates that rents have increased by an average of 3.1 per cent year-on-year across the UK as a whole. This represents a positive message given the degree of turbulence and uncertainty the market has endured in recent months.
Darren Pike, a mortgage adviser at Clear Cut FP, said: “It is important to remember there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ investment and due diligence and risk acknowledgment is key to any successful investment. The buy-to-let market still serves its investment purpose regardless of the recent negativity. Property is still a comprehensible venture, so as long as you are equipped for market changes along the way.”