Property

Fresh fears that Brexit will push away overseas buyers revealed in new survey

Warren Lewis
|
10th October 2019
Brexit 613

A new independent survey has revealed that four-fifths consider international interest to be key in boosting property prices and over half see it as important to UK economy.

Butterfield Mortgages Limited polled more than 1,000 UK-based property investors, all of whom own more than three residential properties, to discover their sentiment towards overseas real estate buyers and found the majority of UK property investors are concerned Brexit will deter international buyers from purchasing real estate in Britain.

Four-fifths (82%) believe overseas buyers play a vital role in making the UK property market competitive, while 57% went a step further in saying that they believe international property investment is important for the UK economy.

However, while UK property investors are keen for international buyers not to be pushed out of the market, they do want to see reforms in this space.

Two thirds (66%) want there to be an increase to the stamp duty payable by overseas buyers. The Government is currently considering a 1% surcharge on purchases of property by non-UK residents.

Elsewhere, BML’s study showed 58% of property investors are in favour of introducing a cap on the number of properties a single non-UK resident could purchase. A small majority (55%) also feel overseas buyers should be prevented from buying houses at the bottom end of the market so they do not damage the affordable housing supply.

Alpa Bhakta, CEO of BML, said: “As the UK heads towards the Brexit deadline, the country’s ability to attract international investment is going to be hugely important. This new research highlights how many property investors are concerned that we may, in fact, be pushing away overseas buyers and in turn damaging our own real estate market.

That said, it is clear that controls must be put in place to protect the interests of domestic buyers, whether that is a stamp duty surcharge or property cap for overseas buyers.

Ultimately, a fine balance must be found, as overseas buyers make a significant contribution to the UK economy through the purchase of prime properties, simultaneously ensuring the top end of the market remains competitive. They should not be pushed away too eagerly, nor made scapegoats as the UK struggles to address the bigger issue of a lack of affordable housing.”

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