Property investors worried about Brexit

Michael Lloyd

October 10, 2019

Over half (55%) of property investors are worried Brexit will deter international buyers from purchasing UK real estate, in turn weakening the market, Butterfield Mortgages has found.

Four fifths (82%) believe overseas buyers play a vital role in making the property market competitive and 57% said that international property investment is important for the economy.

Alpa Bhakta, chief executive of Butterfield Mortgages, 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.”

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, 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.

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