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Overseas buyers eye up UK property bargains during Brexit chaos

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10/05/2019
Extra Stamp Duty charges are not putting off all potential overseas buyers from looking to buy a UK home
Overseas buyers eye up UK property bargains during Brexit chaos

Overseas buyers are sizing up the UK property market for potential bargains, taking advantage of the weak pound and the political uncertainty over Brexit, according to Placebuzz.

The property portal found that searches for UK property by overseas buyers have grown steadily since before the EU referendum. They now account for 6.2% of all activity on the portal in the first three months of this year, compared to just 3.6% three years ago, an increase of 72%.

It said some foreign investors are keen to capitalise on softening prices and a weak pound and are looking for discounts. This could fuel demand for UK property, alongside expats planning a return to the UK amid uncertainty over their rights, pensions and healthcare.

Where are they looking?

London is in strong demand as the third most sought-after location, but the UK’s regional cities could benefit the most from interest from overseas buyers, with Glasgow and Birmingham the most popular search locations, followed by Manchester and Leicester.

Below are the top 10 most popular UK locations with overseas buyers:

1. Glasgow
2. Birmingham
3. London
4. Manchester
5. Leicester
6. Edinburgh
7. Nottingham
8. Sheffield
9. Southampton
10. Brighton

Who is looking?

US house hunters are watching the market most closely, accounting for nearly 50,000 searches in the first quarter of this year, as shown by the list below of the top 10 countries where buyers are searching from:

1. USA
2. Spain
3. Ireland
4. Australia
5. South Africa
6. Canada
7. France
8. India
9. Italy
10. Germany

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

“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.

“Uncertainty over the rights of British expats living in Europe as well as access to healthcare and pensions, is also likely to be prompting many of them to consider a return to the UK, driving demand for property.”

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