Weak Pound Drives Expat Buy To Let Demand In UK

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Expat property investors are taking advantage of the persistent low value of the Pound to snap up buy to let homes in the UK.

The Pound has spent the three years since the Brexit referendum languishing between £1.1 and £1.2 to the US dollar – with a high of £1.195 in July 2016 and a low of £1.07 in August 2019.

The current exchange rate is £1.12 to the dollar.

The exchange rate means expats can buy more property for the Pound as foreign currencies strengthen against Sterling.

One key expat buy to let lender says the value of inquiries year-to-date already add up to more than last year.

Currency risk

Roger Hughes, business development manager at Skipton International, said: “Demand from overseas residents for UK buy to let mortgages is strong, despite the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

“The devaluation of the pound since the Brexit vote in 2016 has of course reduced the upfront cost of purchasing a UK property if you are earning or have savings in a foreign currency. On 10 June 2016 the exchange rate was 1.43 US dollars to the pound, recently it touched 1.20, a 16% reduction in the dollar amount required to fund a given amount of Sterling.

“Once the property has been purchased, the rental income will be paid in Sterling which removes most of the currency risk in maintaining the UK mortgage. We believe many overseas residents are considering UK property good value at present, which is resulting in record levels of applications.”

Size really does matter for over 55s

Britain’s over 55s are shunning downsizing to stay in their homes, according to new data.

Building society and mortgage lender Nationwide asked more than 2,000 over 55s about their property plans.

Although 36% want to move to a smaller home, 20% say size matters and if they move, it’s likely to be to a home of the same size as their current property, while 43% don’t want to move.

Space was the main reason for staying put, with 22% needing room for their families, 18% wanting to store a lifetime’s possessions and 10% seeking room to pursue a hobby.

Although a smaller home would be easier to manage, 73% of downsizers would stay in their current home if they could.

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