Property investors in the UK are worried Brexit is discouraging expats and foreign buyers from purchasing prime homes and commercial real estate in Britain.
Foreign investment is worth billions to UK property sellers each year, but 55% of investors are concerned Brexit is undermining the market by deterring international buyers.
The survey by Butterfield Mortgages asked more than a thousands British landlords with three or more investment properties for their views about foreign buyers.
Eight out of 10 believe expats and other non-residents make a vital contribution to making the property market competitive.
Call for restrictions on foreigners
Another 57% felt foreign buyers investing in UK property are vital to the economy but want restrictions on their activity.
Two thirds of UK property investors support tax reforms that will see international buyers pay more stamp duty when buying real estate.
The British government intends to enhance stamp duty tariffs by 1% for non-resident buyers purchasing homes in England and Northern Ireland. A consultation has closed pending feedback.
Another 58% wanted a cap on the number of properties a foreigner could buy in the UK, while 55% wanted a bottom-value cap to stop non-residents buying affordable homes.
Alpa Bhakta, CEO of the Butterfield Mortgage CEO, 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.
Keeping a fine balance
“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.”
The lender provides specialist mortgages to UK and international high net worth borrowers.