UK Expatriate Mortgage Industry Review 2010
Over 50 per cent of London houses purchased by UK Expats & Overseas Purchasers
More than a half of major London premises are now being bought by foreign people the very
first time, according to data from the premier estate agent.
Savills, one of the country’s largest estate agents, said that 55 per cent of all properties in
London worth more than £750,000 that it sold were bought by foreigners this year, compared
with 45 per when the housing market hit its peak during 2007. Stuart Marshall, Business
Development Director at liquidexpatmortgages.com confirms the British Expats and Foreign
Nationals are benefiting from their favorable exchange rate back to GBP, available deposits,
genuine choice and access to UK and offshore mortgage lending means because the
investment/equity markets are still perceived as volatile, investing back into UK property
remains a popular and simple investment choice/strategy.
Though large houses and up market flats have often been bought by foreigners in London, this
is the first time that an estate agent has said that more than half its clients are from overseas.
Liquid Expat Mortgages, specialists in arranging UK and Offshore Finance for Expats and
Foreign Nationals, confirms London and UK property market below £750,000 is still a hugely
popular mortgage requirement for their clients. The combination of lending requirements for
both Buy to let purchases and also to secure a home prior to an expats return remains the core
of their new purchase enquiries. A recent trend has seen many overseas buyers looking for a
piece of London real estate that can be bought and let out prior to their children looking to
study at a London University in the future.
The statistics come just a week after rival firm Knight Frank said that 46 per cent of buyers of
“prime property” in central London were foreign. The falling value of the pound has been the
main cause, encouraging rich foreigners to buy homes in the capital as an investment.
Experts said the number of wealthy Russians, Italians, French and Middle Eastern buyers were
helping the top end of London avoid the wobble in house prices, which had affected the rest of
the country. But they warned that it could distort the market, pushing up prices of large family
homes at the expense of long-term residents of the capital.
According to the Land Registry, prices in London have increased by 14 per cent over the last
year, considerably higher than the national average increase of 8.5 per cent. Some areas,
particularly in the north east of England have seen a substantial fall.
Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist at Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “Are
there ill effects and distortions in the market by foreign buyers snapping up high-end
properties in London? There may well be in certain areas.”
Wealthy foreign buyers have part of the property scene in London for decades, especially in
areas such as Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair, where prices have raised so high most
families cannot afford to live there. Most residents in these areas are international
businessmen, many on short-term leases. Many of the properties are purely investments and
remain empty. Stuart Marshall, Business Development Director at liquidexpatmortgages.com ,
states that many of their clients are purchasing London Property below £500,000 as purely a
buy to let investment, with yields above 5% and genuine possibilities of capital growth in the
short to medium term.
Savills said that what was eye-catching was that international buyers, who previously had
dominated the market for properties worth £2 million or more, were starting to look at less
expensive homes, down to £750,000 – the price of a four-bed home in many parts of London,
not just the very centre.
Yolande Barnes, head of Savills residential research, said: “The weakness of sterling, and the
consequently strong purchasing power of foreign currency buyers, has undoubtedly fuelled this
rise and international buyer demand remains robust. By the end of March 2010 property prices
were 10 per cent lower than their peak for sterling buyers, but in US dollar and euro terms they
remained 33 per cent and 30 per cent below their peak respectively.”
Expats & Foreign National looking to raise a Mortgage, visit: www.liquidexpatmortgages.com