British Brexpat returnees to face UK shock horror property prices

Published:  2 Aug at 6 PM
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Britons living in Europe and considering returning home due to Brexit uncertainties may be forced to think again due to UK property price increases since 2010.

Recent research has shown average prices in the UK’s real estate market have increased by 12 per cent over the past seven years, whilst house prices in Europe’s most popular expat destinations have been falling fast. British expats, particularly retirees, who are thinking about returning to the UK due to the continuing uncertainty over their post-Brexit rights may well be unable to finance their new homes.

In Spain, an EU favourite with British migrants, average real estate prices have fallen by as much as 26 per cent since 2010, and property prices in Italy are down by 20 per cent. Britons who bought in Portugal have seen prices slump by six per cent, although real estate prices in France have only dropped by 3.8 per cent. Spain isn’t just the worst affected by the slump in property values, it’s also the country with the most British expats, some 300,000 at the last count, 33 percent of whom are pensioners.

One example of the dilemma now facing hundreds of thousands of Britons is that of a 65 year-old man who’d sold his UK home in 2010 and paid the same amount for his retirement villa in Spain. Following the Brexit referendum, he decided to return to the UK but is stymied by the price gap of £65,000 between the value of his Spanish house and the current price of a home in Britain similar to the one he sold. Magnified by the thousands of retired expat property owners in Spain who may be forced to leave post-Brexit, that price gap becomes billions of pounds.

It’s not just retirees in Spain who will be hard hit should they decide or be forced to repatriate, with the average price gap in Italy now at some £55,000. Even in France, with its far smaller house price decline, it’s still an average of £26,000. Cheaper properties than those which were sold to fund overseas retirement are obviously still available in the UK, but may not be suitable for the elderly as regards location, local amenities such as hospitals or overall personal safety.
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