Marketing No Comments

Hong Kong Buyers Rushing to Buy UK Property

There are increasing numbers of Hong Kong residents who are looking to buy UK property. This is largely as a result of the evolving political situation in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kongers seeking UK property are taking advantage of the UK’s visa scheme for BNO passport holders, which was introduced in 2021. The visa programme provides a fast-track to British citizenship and was announced as a reaction to Beijing’s newly imposed national security laws which were seen to breach the 1984 Sino-British declaration which guaranteed certain freedoms to Hong Kong citizens for 50 years.

Between June 2021 and 2022 alone, Hong Kong has seen 121,500 people leave, with many of these taking the UK government up on its offer of fast-tracked British citizenship. In fact, the UK government has received 140,500 applications already.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

Hong Kong Buyers Looking to the UK
‘The UK has been a popular location for Hong Kong investors for a while. This is because it’s extremely affordable for most Hong Kong buyers compared to their expensive domestic market. The exchange rate from Hong Kong dollars to British Sterling also makes this a favourable purchase, especially given the current state of the Great British Pound. Strong rental yields and capital growth offered by UK property have also served to compound the attractive nature of UK property for Hong Kong buyers. But with so many Hong Kong residents looking to move to the UK, at least on a temporary basis, the demand for UK property from Hong Kong has grown even more’ says Stuart Marshall of Liquid Expat Mortgages.

‘We’ve seen a huge increase in enquiries from Hong Kong. But there are a number of common issues that Hong Kong buyers encounter. One of the most common early hurdles that Hong Kong buyers come across is that they are trying to use a high street lender. Such lenders are usually not equipped to properly serve a borrower from Hong Kong. A specialist mortgage broker, on the other hand, will have the infrastructure to put Hong Kong borrowers in touch with specialist lenders who have foreign national – and, in some cases, Hong Kong – specific deals.’

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

Mortgage Deals Available for Hong Kong Buyers
A positive for Hong Kong investors in the UK is that, because of the demand at the moment, lenders are creating deals specifically for Hong Kong investors to satisfy the need for specialised products in the marketplace. ‘Lenders have been working with brokers to understand the specific needs of Hong Kong borrowers and work on crafting products that meet these needs. These products are available for a wide variety of uses on both residential and buy-to-let properties, new purchases and re-mortgages.’

Source: EIN News

Marketing No Comments

Weak Pound Encouraging Overseas Investors To Buy UK Property

When the mini-budget tanked the pound to record lows against the dollar, overseas buyers again began circling UK property in increasing numbers.

While many overseas investors are better off when buying UK property compared to the start of 2022, the same is not true for domestic buyers who are contending with a number of difficulties including energy prices, high inflation and heightened interest rates.

For those foreign nationals paying in US Dollars, the average UK home now costs 14.8% less, with the average London property costing 16.5% less.

The huge savings UK expat and foreign national investors are making because of a weak pound are doing a great deal to offset the rising mortgage rates.

A weak pound is encouraging overseas investors to buy UK property for comparatively cheaper prices as domestic buyer competition wanes.

Domestic investors will be forced to watch on as house prices continue to climb while the weakening pound is presenting excellent investment opportunities for UK expat and foreign national investors.

Economic and political turbulence has continually contributed to a weaker pound in recent times. When the mini-budget tanked the pound to record lows against the dollar, overseas buyers again began circling in increasing numbers. And though the turbulence seems to be stabilising somewhat, international buyers are still keen to purchase UK property. Here’s why it’s important for UK expat and foreign national investors.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

What Does a Weak Pound Mean for Overseas Investors?

For those foreign nationals paying in US Dollars, the average UK home now costs 14.8% less, with the average London property costing 16.5% less. ‘This is the kind of difference that currency fluctuations can make’ says Stuart Marshall of Liquid Expat Mortgages. ‘While domestic buyers will feel the effects of a weak pound across the board on any imported item them buy, a weak pound is leaving property comparatively cheaper despite house price growth. For example, in London, prices have risen by 4.9% so far in 2022. However, foreign nationals buying in US dollars are paying a sixth less than at the start of 2022. Buyers in the UAE are benefitting to almost the same degree saving 14.5% on the average UK property and 16.2% on the average London property, while buyers are saving 13.9% and 15.6% in their native currency.’

What Does a Weak Pound Mean for Domestic Buyers?

Domestic investors will be forced to watch on as house prices continue to climb while the weakening pound is presenting excellent investment opportunities for UK expat and foreign national investors. While many overseas investors are better off when buying UK property compared to the start of 2022, the same is not true for domestic buyers who are contending with a number of difficulties including energy prices, high inflation, heightened interest rates and low confidence in the economy and housing market.

Domestic buyers will see their buying power reduced further, as their day to day lives become more expensive since the weak pound will mean that imports cost more. This, in turn, pushes up inflation and is likely to cause interest rates to be raised again in an effort to curb soaring inflation.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

The Bigger Picture.

‘Of course, currency rates are not the be-all-end-all, but they are certainly a big win for UK expat and foreign national investors. However, the huge savings they are making because of a weak pound are doing a great deal to offset the rising mortgage rates. And while the higher mortgage rates are adding to the cost of investment, rental profits are also incredibly high due to the large numbers in the rental market. In fact, each property available to rent currently has 11 prospective renters trying to secure tenancy on the property. This competition is pushing up rental prices and rental profits for discerning investors and these higher yields are also lessening the effects of the higher mortgage rates.’

‘Because of the dampened domestic market, UK expat and foreign national investors are also finding it easier to pick up a bargain as the number of properties on the market has been growing over the spring and summer, leading to greater choice, slower sales, and an increased number of price reductions. Further, though house price appreciation over the pandemic is translating to affordability constraints now for domestic buyers, the types of properties that are popular for UK expat and foreign national investors are quite different. Namely, many UK expats and foreign nationals have been opting to invest in city centre flats, as these properties are particularly popular in the rental market. This is good news, considering the fact that the average house price has grown five times more than the average cost of a flat since 2020.’

‘Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that UK expat and foreign national investors will be shopping in a different mortgage market than domestic investors. While domestic buyers saw a third of all mortgage products removed from the market after the mini-budget, the UK expat and foreign national mortgage market is constantly trying to introduce new products to meet specific customer demand. With the weak pound lending strength to overseas buyers, it’s likely that lenders will be trying to introduce new products to entice business from this lucrative sector. This means that UK expat and foreign national investors will frequently see lower rates and better deals, compared to domestic investors.’

‘Investing in UK property is one of the best financial decisions that UK expat and foreign national investors can make – and the enduring popularity of this form of investment is testament to this. The weak pound is only making this proposition more inviting and, along with a competitive UK expat and foreign national mortgage market, is doing a lot to offset the damage done by house prices and mortgage rates. For canny UK expat and foreign national investors, it’s important to keep track of the market developments as things are changing every day, and the turbulent political scene is influencing a lot. For example, the recently announced stamp duty break is good news for first-time UK expat and foreign national investors and will further add fuel to the investment fire. A specialist UK expat or foreign national mortgage broker can help their clients to keep abreast of this situation and invest at the perfect time for them.’

Source: MENAFN

Marketing No Comments

Overseas buyers look to snap up London property as weak pound takes demand to ‘new levels’

Demand in London property from foreign investors is at “new levels” as they rush to make the most of the weaker pound.

The pound steadied in early trading in Asian markets on Tuesday, recovering ground slightly from the record low of 1.0327 against the dollar on Monday morning.

Sterling was standing at around $1.08 early on Tuesday but this is still significantly lower than before chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, which sent the currency spiralling last Friday.

One London estate agent, Chestertons, has said that the dip in the value of the pound has driven interest from overseas buyers, who can now get more with their dollars.

“London already attracted overseas buyers back to its property market since the easing of travel restrictions but the weaker pound is taking demand from foreign investors to new levels,” Matthew Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, said.

“Bearing in mind the dollar’s beneficial exchange rate against the pound, our branches have registered a particular boost in buyer enquiries from US citizens or residents of country’s where the dollar is a primary currency.”

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

He continued: “To maximise the saving that can be had due to current exchange rates, buyers are especially drawn to some of London’s priciest neighbourhoods such as Knightsbridge, Mayfair and South Kensington.

“Only 6 months ago, a property that is on the market for £4million, would have cost around $5.23million. At the current exchange rate, the same property costs around $4.32million which is a saving of almost $1million.”

Rory Penn, head of London sales at Knight Frank, said that there has been “a pick up from international buyers who see a buying opportunity in London.”

“US buyers are either looking for best-in-class turnkey residential development or family houses and apartments,” he said, “particularly lateral space with high ceilings and period features.”

Arthur Lintell, who works in Knight Frank’s Notting Hill office, said that the North London residential area had seen particular interest from US buyers.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

“Favoured amongst Americans, Notting Hill has seen a recent surge in interest from US or dollar pegged buyers all keen to take advantage of the recent buying window,” he said.

“One in particular, an ex-Notting Hill local who relocated to New York 15 years ago, is now returning, as the opportunity is too good not to miss as their children start Notting Hill Prep next year. In their words: ‘The timing could not be better for us right now’.”

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said: “Given the weakness of the British pound, we may see foreign investors buying property in the UK as the currency has depreciated that much. For many, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

In an attempt to steady the markets on Monday, the Bank of England said that it “will not hesitate” to raise interest rates. However the pound fell after the joint statements from the Bank and its governor Andrew Bailey amid concerns that they had ruled out an emergency rise in rates.

The next interest rate decision is scheduled for 3 November.

Following the fall in the pound, some mortgage deals have been withdrawn by banks and building societies. Virgin Money and Skipton Building Society halted offers for new clients and Halifax said it would stop mortgages with product fees.

By Holly Bancroft

Source: The Independent

Marketing No Comments

Pound’s weakness could boost overseas investment in ‘resilient’ Scots property market

Sterling’s weakness could boost overseas investment in a “resilient” Scottish commercial property market, industry experts believe.

Property consultancy Knight Frank found that investment volumes in commercial property north of the Border rose by 37 per cent during the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, increasing to £1.46 billion from £1.06bn.

Offices were the most popular asset type, accounting for just over one-third of total investment volumes. Investment in industrial property almost doubled, from £157 million to £300m, as interest levels in the sector continued to increase following the pandemic.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

The research found that overseas investors remain the most active buyers of Scottish commercial property, accounting for 53 per cent of investment volumes. UK property companies increased their investment levels from £312m last year to £518m in the latest nine-month period.

Investment volumes in Aberdeen more than doubled from just over £54m in the first nine months of 2021 to £116.9m, buoyed by the sale of two retail parks. Edinburgh saw investment volumes increase 24 per cent to £415m, while Glasgow increased by 6 per cent to £377m.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank Scotland, said: “There has been a great deal of uncertainty this year, starting with the complications of the ongoing pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and rising inflation and interest rates, but Scotland’s commercial property market has continued to fare well. This is particularly true for assets that are in high demand, namely prime offices and industrials – but alternatives, particularly hotels, are increasing in popularity.

“The summer period was relatively quiet after a flurry of deals were completed in the lead up to June. However, as we move into the final quarter, there remains a significant amount of dry powder waiting to invest and commercial property is traditionally seen as offering a good hedge against inflation – particularly for overseas investors, with the pound’s current weakness. We could see them take an even more active interest in the market in the remainder of 2022 and into next year.”

He added: “We anticipate a busy end to a challenging year, provided the macro-economic situation does not change materially and the right stock is made available.”

By Scott Reid

Source: The Scotsman

Marketing No Comments

Truss to announce stamp duty cut – report

UK housebuilders rallied on Wednesday following a report that Friday’s mini-budget could include a plan to cut stamp duty.

According to The Times, prime minister Liz Truss will announce the move in the mini-budget in an attempt to drive economic growth. It was understood the PM and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have been working on the plans for more than a month.

Truss believes that cutting stamp duty will encourage economic growth by allowing more people to move and enabling first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, The Times said.

It cited two Whitehall sources as saying that cuts to stamp duty were the “rabbit” in the mini-budget, which the government is billing as a “growth plan”.

Under the current system, no stamp duty is paid on the first £125,000 of any property purchase. Between £125,001 and £250,000 stamp duty is levied at 2%, £250,001 and £925,000 at 5%, £925,001 and £1.5m at 10% and anything above £1.5m at 12%. For first-time buyers the threshold at which stamp duty is paid is £300,000.

During the pandemic, then chancellor Rishi Sunak lifted the stamp duty threshold to £500,000.

At 0910 BST, Persimmon shares were up 5.4%, while Taylor Wimpey and Barratt were up 4% and Berkeley was 3.5% firmer. On the FTSE 250, Redrow was 5.6% higher, while Bellway and Crest Nicholson were up 3.6% and 3.4%, respectively.

Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: “Nobody can accuse the new government of lacking an economic vision. If its low-tax approach extends to stamp duty, recent history tells us it will trigger higher levels of demand in the housing market at a time when mortgages are getting more expensive, which will support social mobility.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

“Prices could move higher in the short term if supply initially struggles to keep up but more balanced conditions will return provided the cut is immediate and permanent.”

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, referred to the potential stamp duty cut as “the old Tory trick of juicing the housing market in its heartlands to boost confidence (wealth effect) whilst doing not a lot for housing supply”.

“I’m not for concreting over the green belt at all, but there will be questions about the economic soundness of this policy, as there always is. However, with interest rates rising so quickly, an offset to the cost of buying a home would grease the wheels of the market -without higher rates could cause the housing market to seize up.”

He added: “Clearly a stamp duty cut is good news for housebuilders who can expect higher selling prices as a result.”

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, argued that a stamp duty cut could do more harm than good.

“Buyers are unlikely to be unhappy at the prospect of a tax cut, but if the government chooses to cut Stamp Duty in an effort to stimulate the housing market, there’s a risk it could do more harm than good.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

“It’s easy to see why the government is concerned about the housing market. We’ve seen demand fall consistently since May, when rocketing bills, rising house prices and ever-increasing interest rates started to take a toll on buyer enthusiasm. There’s a risk that if rate rises accelerate, pressure on buyers could reach a tipping point, where demand dries up.

“We know from very recent experience that a Stamp Duty holiday can stimulate demand. However, the only reason these holidays work is because people feel they have a small window of opportunity to take advantage, otherwise they’ll miss out. The point at which they think they can just wait for the next one, they will start to become less effective.

“Even if it does stimulate demand, it overlooks the fact that the real brake on the property market is a severe shortage of supply. With an average of 36 properties on each agent’s books, we’re still close to an all-time low in the availability of property for sale. Driving demand without addressing supply would risk more buyers chasing a tiny number of properties, which would push prices up.

“By ramping up prices at a time of rising mortgage rates, the end result would be higher monthly mortgage costs, which would be increasingly unaffordable. And the Stamp Duty holiday wouldn’t help on this front. This in itself could be enough to put buyers off, and if it deters enough of them, it could end up having the opposite impact to the one that’s intended.”

By Michele Maatouk

Source: Sharecast

Marketing No Comments

Bank of England to suspend market operations for State funeral

The BoE said CHAPS will be closed on 19th September, in line with its normal bank holiday arrangements.

CHAPS handled around 174,000 payments each day, in the year to February 2021, with an average payment value of £2.1m. That works out at around £367bn each working day.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

CHAPS is used by banks and large corporations to settle high-value money market and foreign exchange transactions, by companies to pay taxes, and by solicitors and conveyancers to settle property transactions.

The Bank’s Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service, which underpins large transfers between bank accounts, will also be closed.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

Back in 2014, RTGS collapsed for most of a day, putting thousands of housing market transactions on hold.

Last week the BoE said the sale of corporate bonds held by the Asset Purchase Facility will be delayed by a week, to 26 September, following its decision to delay its next interest rate decision by a week (to 22nd September).

Source: London Loves Business

Marketing No Comments

London rental properties letting within minutes

One lettings agency in London says that tenant demand is so great in the capital for rental properties that many homes are being let within minutes of becoming available.

Benham and Reeves point to demand created by the return of professionals and international students, along with the growing shortage of available properties to rent, for creating a ‘challenging market’.

Tenant enquiry levels have continued to increase over the summer, across the firm’s 19 branches.

They say this is the ‘Most competitive London rental market that we have ever known’.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

Many branches have had almost no stock
In addition, tenants are finding that many branches have had almost no stock available, at best one or two apartments available to rent.

In a market update, the agent says: “Many properties are renting within hours – and some within minutes – as applicants immediately make an enquiry as soon as a property goes live on our website.

“This is swiftly followed by a full asking rent offer and once agreed, a holding deposit – so anxious are they to secure a property.

“This of course is great news for buy-to-let investors who, in many parts of the capital, are seeing their rental properties let immediately with voids at an absolute minimum. Sometimes just a day or two.”

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

London is now a ‘landlord’s market’
The update also makes clear that the imbalance between supply and demand means that London is now a ‘landlord’s market’ with property investors expanding their property portfolios.

And rents are rising to pre-pandemic levels – some are now 10% higher.

Investors from overseas are also finding that the weakness of sterling makes London property considerably more affordable, while the shortage of rental properties means demand is the highest that the agent ‘has ever seen’.

Professionals returning to live and work in London, along with international students, are fuelling demand.

In some areas, including the City and east London, around 85% of applicants have been international students.

With the rental market so competitive, tenancy renewals remain at an all-time high – often more than 90% of existing tenants are renewing because they see there is a limited choice of properties available.

Source: Property 118

Marketing No Comments

Prime house price five-year forecast revised

Savills has released a revised five-year forecast for the UK’s prime housing markets, reflecting strong levels of activity in prime central London and prime regional markets, but also a backdrop of international and domestic uncertainty.

While the shape of recovery remains broadly as previously forecast in November 2021, the long-awaited bounce in values in prime central London has been pushed out to 2023. The firm expects prime central London’s house prices to grow 4% across 2022 (down from 8% previously forecast in November 2021). This reflects a slower pace of return of international buyers than anticipated, as well as the war on Ukraine and current domestic political instability which have caused a degree of caution that is constraining price growth.

Savills expects a more significant recovery in 2023, and has forecast growth of 7% (up from 4%), with the pace of demand from overseas expected to increase.

Over the next five-years, prices in prime central London are expected to rise by a total of 21.6%, despite a slight slowing of growth in the run-up to the expected general election in 2024.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

“Strong activity over the past six months, the relative value on offer and the prospects for global wealth generation together give us confidence that prime central London will continue to recover steadily over the next couple of years,” comments Frances McDonald, research analyst at Savills.

“However, the pace of return of international buyers has so far been slow, holding back the more rapid recovery we had previously anticipated. Early indicators suggest that things should improve over the second half of the year and into 2023, as high-net-worth buyers have gradually started to return to traditional prime postcodes such as Chelsea, Belgravia, Kensington, Mayfair, Notting Hill and Holland Park over the past three-months, boosting the outlook for price growth beyond this year.”

“In the longer term, requirements to register beneficial ownership of homes held in offshore vehicles have the potential to curb some demand amongst a limited number of buyers in the longer term. But, while historically there have been many benefits to using offshore vehicles to hold UK property, the tax advantages have largely already been removed. As such, we have only slightly reduced our outlook for prices over the next five years,” continues McDonald

In the more domestic markets of outer prime London, continued unmet demand from those looking to upsize and a lack of suitable stock will support price growth in the short term. Savills has forecast that price growth in these markets will average +5% in 2022.

But while the prime markets (broadly the top 5%-10% by value) are generally more resilient to interest rate rises and the increased cost of debt, they are not completely immune. Savills expects to see signs of price sensitivity creep into the market over the next six months, resulting in slower growth from 2023 onwards. This is expected to cap price growth at 13.6% over the five years to the end of 2026.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

“Over the medium term, the return of workers to the capital will fuel demand. Even as hybrid working becomes more conventional, workers still value proximity to the office and some of those who bought a home in the country during the pandemic are realising the need for a pied-à-terre, further supporting demand for flats,” continues McDonald.

“From 2023 onwards we are forecasting slightly lower levels of price growth with rising pressure on buyers’ spending power, though the effect of earlier than expected interest rate rises is likely to be offset by an easing in mortgage regulation and an increased flow of capital coming out of central London.”

Scotland, the Midlands and the North expected to perform the strongest in the long term

Following two years of unprecedented price growth (+16% since March 2020), the pace of growth in the prime regional markets has started to slow. However, activity continues to be strong and there remains an imbalance between supply and demand across much of the market, which will support price growth in the immediate future.

Savills forecasts that prime regional markets will grow by an average of 5% in 2022, led by growth in London’s suburbs (6%), with prices growing more steadily thereafter (18.8% over the five years to the end of 2026).

“Growth in the medium term will depend largely on further interest rate rises and the rising cost of living which will limit buyers’ spending power. This will have the most significant impact on markets where buyers typically take on more debt.

“As a result, we are likely to see a continued slowing of growth towards the end of this year, and whilst we are not expecting a significant correction in price levels, realistic pricing from vendors will once more become all-important. This will be particularly true for markets which have seen the strongest growth since the start of the pandemic, namely London’s suburbs and the coastal and rural markets in the south of England which performed phenomenally over the course of the pandemic,” concludes Savills’ Frances McDonald.

Longer term, the prime markets of Scotland, the Midlands and the North of England are expected to perform the strongest, due to greater capacity for growth (compared with those in the South). Savills has forecast 21.7% and 22.8% total growth over the next five years.

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

Marketing No Comments

Overseas investors ‘will not be deterred’ from UK property by new rules

Despite measures and additional taxation to curb overseas investors in UK property, the asset class still holds great allure for a number of reasons.

On 1 August 2022, a new register of overseas entities was launched in the UK. This means anyone investing in or acquiring property in the UK from abroad will need to register with Companies House.

The aim of the register is to prevent individuals or companies buying property with illicit funds, but some believe the additional paperwork could serve as a deterrent for some legitimate overseas investors.

However, David Hannah, group chairman at Cornerstone Tax, believes the UK property market will still provide enough of an attraction to foreign buyers for myriad reasons, as it still presents an “exciting opportunity”.

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

Big demand from overseas investors
Hannah points out that the UK property market is very much an international market, and it can therefore be affected by geo-political events all over the world.

“Even if domestic demand cools, I think international demand will increase and the UK market will be affected because of it. I don’t think foreign investment will be overly deterred by the new rules coming into place on 1 August.

“Property in the UK represents an exciting opportunity for foreign buyers because of the drop in the value of the pound.”

The historic house price growth has always provided an attraction to overseas investors, gaining the sector a reputation as a safe haven as it generally shows less volatility than many other asset classes.

In recent years, this growth has been even stronger due to a range of contributing factors.

Hannah comments: “UK house prices continue to rise at a staggering rate domestically, being pushed higher by factors such as the influx of oversea investors.

“In the past, factors such as the stamp duty holiday have caused more people to consider buying property. However, due to the increase in average house prices, it has made it more difficult than ever for buyers to purchase their first property.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

What’s in the pipeline?
Recent data revealed that overseas investors now own around £90.7bn of property in England and Wales. Around half of this (£45.3bn) is concentrated in London, which has historically attracted the most attention from foreign buyers.

This was according to research from Benham and Reeves, which also named the south east and the north west as the top two property investment destinations for those living abroad, after the capital. Overseas owners have around £15.6bn tied up in the south east, and £7.6bn in the north west.

In total, according to Benham and Reeves, 247,016 properties across England and Wales are owned by overseas investors. As well as the highest value of properties, the highest number of these can be found in London, with 85,451 foreign-owned.

One of the biggest draws in recent years has been the falling value of the pound, which makes it cheaper for overseas investors buying property here.

A challenge for anyone buying property right now in the UK is the supply gap, as less sellers have been coming to the market.

Hannah notes that the 24% rise in prospective sellers putting homes on the market offers hope that this trend could be easing, “thus causing a more manageable supply and demand level and potentially slowing the rapid rise of property prices”.

The register will also be applied retrospectively to property bought up to 20 years ago in England and Wales and since December 2014 in Scotland. UK property owners who live overseas should ensure they are up to date on the latest requirements.

Source: Buy Association

Marketing No Comments

I could have fixed my mortgage rate for years longer. I’m a fool

I have been having flashbacks. Not the kind I used to have, of when I went hiking in Yosemite National Park without a map and ended up sliding down a bear-infested trail on my backside in the dark. No, these flashbacks relate to a time in my more recent life, and an ill-fated conversation with my mortgage broker in July last year that led to a severe financial misjudgment.

My wife and I had just sold our house while juggling careers and three small children, and it was time to choose a mortgage for the new one. Should we take a two-year fixed-rate deal or a five-year one?

Contact us today to discuss Expat Mortgages and how we can assist you.

The five-year mortgage was with Santander, and the two-year with the West Brom building society. Both had interest rates of just over 1.2 per cent, and our broker pushed for the two-year deal. The Bank of England base rate was 0.1 per cent, and he said he would be stunned if the base rate or mortgage prices went up significantly by summer 2023, when we’d be due to renew. Plus (and after this week’s 0.5 percentage point rate rise, this is makes me squirm the most) he reckoned being stuck with a five-year deal and its hefty early repayment charge was the riskier option.

The clincher was that the West Brom would lend us £40,000 more than Santander would because it had a more relaxed affordability calculation, and we wanted that money — the place needed some work. It was an interest-only mortgage, which appealed because the repayments would be low while my wife was temporarily out of work. The two-year deal it was.

Fast forward a year and . . . yes, I know, I’m an idiot.

Since we took out our mortgage the base rate has risen six times, now sitting at 1.75 per cent. It is heading in only one direction, and could be as high as 3 per cent when our two-year fix term ends.

Lenders, of course, follow the base rate when setting their rates. According to the data firm Moneyfacts, the average two-year fixed-rate deal has gone from 2.55 per cent to 3.74 per cent since we took out our loan, and the average five-year fixed rate is up from 2.78 per cent to 3.89 per cent. Next summer we may be offered 4 per cent, which could mean paying £1,000 more each month than we do now.

Discover our Expat Mortgage Broker services.

So what can we do about it? Work is about to begin on the downstairs of our house, and it’s becoming ever more expensive because of inflation — we’ve now scaled back our plans and are leaving a tumbledown garage in place. We’ll mitigate the impact of our bigger future mortgage payments by setting aside money each month, and perhaps overpaying on our existing deal. We’ll burn through our savings.

However, for many borrowers coming off fixed rates next year, the prospect of a deal at a much higher rate is going to trigger a “payment shock”, as the broker Andrew Montlake puts it. Of course, at this time of pandemic, war, rising inflation and heatwaves, planning anything is difficult — from when to remortgage to how often to water the garden. I’ll be far from alone in facing nasty flashbacks over the coming months.

By DAVID BYERS

Source: The Times