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Property investments by British expats on the rise

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British expats, particularly those living in Asia, are heavily investing in the UK’s buy-to-let market. In our latest trip to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, at least 40% of the investors we met were British nationals considering buying London property and looking for rental advice or had already bought London property and wanted to employ our rental services. It is a marked difference from our visit in July 2016 when only 15% of British expats approached us with the same enquiries. It is a trend that financial firm Skipton International has also noted.

Its research compared the first five months of this year with the same months in 2016 and found that enquiries by expats living in Asia had more than doubled (a rise of 141%) from the previous year. Skipton had noted the change after it extended the number of countries it was prepared to lend to last year and increased the variety of its buy-to-let mortgage products. Still, there are other factors at work in relation to the astonishing rise.

foreign investorBrexit negotiations have seen the pound fall significantly in value especially against the US dollar, tracked by the Hong Kong dollar, so both have been given a huge boost. It is unsurprising then that there’s been a 162% increase in enquiries from British expats in Hong Kong and a 115% increase from British expats in Singapore. The result is that British expats around the world, with savings in foreign currency, are getting more for their money with UK property. The average value of a buy-to-let mortgage application is £200,000 which, with the fall in the value of the pound, makes property investments more affordable and well within reach of first-time property investors.

educating your child in the ukThe UK too is appealing for a number of reasons. It is home to world-famous colleges and universities as well as respected financial, construction and creative industries so the pull for many to live and work in the capital is great; this means the demand for high-quality rental properties is also high. And for British nationals living abroad, there will always be a natural inclination to invest in your home country. Moreover, many are considering the move to come home and with the drop in sterling, now is proving to be the right time.


In addition, global property investors who track worldwide markets will have not failed to notice that UK house prices rose faster than the global average in 2016. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average house price in London was £551,000 in 2016 which is a 10.8% rise from 2015. This year’s ONS figures show an average 4.7% growth across the UK with London leading the way. London property is a prudent investment; not only are rental properties in continued demand from professionals and students looking to live and work or study in the capital, but also the rising value of the property itself is giving investors a double win. So the message we are seeing from British expats, particularly those in Asia, is clear: London buy-to-let investments are hot property.

If you would like to discuss London property opportunities, contact us today for your personal consultation.


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.