House-hunting advice for UK expat returnees

Published:  19 Nov at 9 AM
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British expats relocating to the UK in fear of Brexit are faced with shock property price hikes.

A good number of Brit expats rented out their UK homes when they left for warmer climes, but the majority sold their properties in the UK in order to upgrade to beachside or poolside villas in the Spanish sun. Sadly, although the Spanish property market is now experiencing an upturn, decreasing numbers of newly arrived expats and an increase in British real estate prices across the board has left many UK returnees with renting as the only alternative. Even returnees eligible for mortgages are in a dilemma, especially if they’ve been away for a considerable number of years.

For those with children, education can be a major headache, and finding a suitable home in a good location is tricky without actually returning to the UK in the short term on a house-hunting trip. Expats who formerly lived in London’s massive suburban sprawl are in the worst position, as house prices have more than doubled over the past 10 years, and many districts are now unrecognisable.

One way to house-hunt from a distance is to have a friend or family member in the UK do it for you, at least as regards finding a small selection of homes which might fit the bill. Even if a property is found which might be acceptable in the short-term, the costs of buying and selling could tear a sizeable hole in your capital. Getting it right initially is far less stressful and also cheaper. As regards saving money, if you’re paying in dollars or euros you’re advised to check exchange rate fluctuations in advance. Unfortunately, the pound sterling is in the doldrums due to Brexit, and it’s certain to fall further unless a miracle occurs.
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