Soaring London housing costs await reluctant Brit expat returnees

Published:  15 Mar at 6 PM
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For British retirees reluctantly returning to the home country post-Brexit, the biggest shock may well be the price of London property.

Although most EU member states have reassured their UK expat communities they’ll keep the majority of their rights, a significant number of Britons may well decide to give up and go home rather than face even the slightest hint of further uncertainty. However, for many former Londoners heading back to their home turf, affording to buy or even rent a property may be well out of reach, as the capital now has the most expensive housing costs in the whole of Europe.

The shock results of a recent survey by a global mobility company revealed the average rental charge for a three-bedroomed property in the capital is now £5,187 a month – far beyond the means of not only UK state pensioners but also those with retirement savings or the average private pension. Even outer London rentals are set at around £4,000 monthly for a mid-market property many miles from the city centre, and central locations are seeing monthly rentals at £7,000.
The reason for the huge hike in house prices and rentals is straightforward – it’s a matter of supply and demand spiked by London’s popularity as an expat professional destination.

Greed is the main motivation and it’s not just London properties which have become unaffordable to the average British renter or buyer, as the northern hub of Manchester now has the most expensive rentals outside the capital. Renting a three-bedroomed home in the former mill town now costs £1,844 a month, again far too expensive for UK state pensioners fresh off the flight from Spain. Scots returning to their homeland are also in for a shock unless they head for Glasgow with its average monthly rentals of around £1050, but Edinburgh is now on the list of the 50 most expensive cities in Europe, coming in at £1,529 monthly.

Adding in the inevitable Brexit-spurred rise in the costs of food, fuel and other necessities, returning British pensioners are faced with hardship unless they’re lucky enough to have amassed large private pensions and other savings during their working lives. Those who’ve not will need to rely on government hand-outs at a time when the British economy is heading for the nearest dustbin. They’ll also need to avoid a medical emergency at all costs until they’ve lived back in the UK for six months and can prove they’re staying on a permanent basis, although EU expats will be welcomed at free NHS hospitals and other medical facilities.
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