Brit expat returnees priced out of UK housing market

Published:  30 Oct at 6 PM
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Brit expats returning to the UK due to Brexit are being priced out of the UK real estate market.

Although house prices are falling across the country, they’re still not low enough to be affordable for former British expats returning home due to Brexit uncertainty. Many who bought homes in their country of retirement will have found a quick sale impossible, leaving them short of cash and unable to get a UK mortgage. Many more will face the fact that, although they could live in a European country on the ungenerous British state pension, it’s not possible to do so once they’ve been faced with the UK’s cost of living.

Spanish media is reporting the numbers of British expat residents has fallen over the past several years by 40 per cent, with those leaving outnumbering new arrivals. The main reason is uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum as to the status of expatriates once the UK leaves the EU, with the lack of concrete information from the British government and its overseas representatives making matters far worse. Many expat returnees would prefer to relocate to the region they left, but soaring house prices caused by the boom in buy-to-let investment mortgages has killed that dream for many, especially those looking to return to London or the south.

One option is to rent a home in a retirement development, especially suitable for those who don’t have any family or friends in the UK. It’s possible to get council accommodation, but available properties may be in areas not suitable for pensioners, especially if they have health problems. The plus points of what used to be known as ‘sheltered accommodation’ are a ready-made social life and emergency call facilities in apartments, and renting usually means necessary repairs are taken care of by the management of the development.

However, retirees used to owning their own homes may find renting a difficult concept, and it can be the expensive option depending on location. One well-known provider advertises outer London properties at around £1,000 per month, and properties in Lancashire are advertised at around £500 to $600 upwards. Pensioners reliant on the state pension and their remaining capital may eventually find themselves homeless should they live longer than they expect, but this sad fact isn’t mentioned in providers’ websites and brochures.
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