Expat property investors scouring the UK for buy to let bargains

Published:  21 Nov at 6 PM
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Expats on basic UK state pensions and living the simple life have been badly hurt by the slump in sterling, but their wealthier counterparts couldn’t be more pleased.

Put simply, wealthy expats living and working overseas are cashing in on lower-priced buy-to-let properties in the UK. For British estate agents, the fall in the pound is a dream come true as the numbers of non-resident landlords increases month by month. At this point in time, overseas landlords make up just over one in ten of property investors, a four per cent rise over last year’s figures. The majority chose a London property or one in the east of the country, with others hitting on the North West and South East regions. The numbers give cause for surprise, as 2018’s total of absentee landlords hit a record low.

According to estate agents specialising in the sector, British investment property is growing more and more popular with overseas buyers. For those using the US$, the average buy-to-let property outside London costs a surprising £53,000 less than five years ago, a fall of 23 per cent totally attributable to the fall in sterling. The amount saved more than covers stamp duty due on purchases of second homes and, for those buying property in London, the saving is even more at £107,000.

One third of all expat landlords are living in Western Europe, a number expected to be overtaken by USA-based property investors in the very near future. This sector already owns 14 per cent of all UK investment properties, according to 2019 figures, with numbers from New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe and Africa also rising fast. However, Middle East-based buyer interest is now on the wane.

One hardly ever mentioned consequence of this booming market is that every comparatively reasonably priced home purchased by an overseas real estate investor is one less available to British first time buyers on limited budgets.
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