Amidst a time of political uncertainty, it is perhaps no surprise that Britain has faced increasing instability in the property market, since the result of the Brexit referendum in June 2016. As we fast approach the October 31st deadline, the housing market relies heavily on the political outcome. As we reported earlier this year, in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that house prices will fall by almost 10% by mid-2021. This aligns with the view expressed in comments from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, of the potential drop in value of British property.
Certainly, the past few months have seen a notable shift for estate agents. In comparison with typical activity levels, there are fewer properties are listed for sale, as those selling fear a loss in their home’s value in the event of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Indeed, it is well-known in the industry that year-on-year to September, house prices have grown at their slowest rate (widely reported as 1.1%) for six years.
Despite this, however, property finders across the country are reporting the opposite: a spike in seeking and engaging property finder services has been noted within the industry. So how can we explain this?
What are the reasons for increase in property finder services?
Despite obvious misgivings about Britain’s housing future, some have suggested that the stagnancy around Brexit has led to a bottleneck, which is appearing as a spike in buyers. Another proposition is that rather than a lack of buyers during this period of political uncertainty, the issue has been a lack of people willing to sell – over concerns of a drop in the value of their property and understandable reluctance to take less than the property’s worth.
Our property finders have been sharing their experiences of this unprecedented growth, particularly in this time of market uncertainty. At present, there seems to be strong interest in engaging UK property finders thanks to buyers from abroad, who are keen to purchase properties in England. But why is this, during such a complex time?
In fact, one possible answer is economical. Thanks to concerns over the financial impact of Brexit on British businesses and trade, the value of the British pound has undergone a drastic drop in recent years. This week, the pound slumped to its lowest level in over a month against the euro to reach €1.115, and fell by a similar amount against the US dollar, to $1.22.
The pound sterling is currently falling against key currencies, making it significantly less expensive for those from overseas looking to invest in property. The purchasing power of the euro and dollar therefore stretches further than before, allowing people to invest in British properties at a hugely reduced rate. Indeed, buying UK residential properties as an overseas investor is being promoted by some as a wise financial investment given the pound’s present value.
In addition, the future of British expats living in Europe is less than certain. With imminent changes to the status of people currently residing within Europe, those living and working within EU countries face a potential loss of their current rights. Under a no deal, British citizens would become third country nationals and lose their EU citizens’ rights, which enable things like visas and residency permits. This could make it harder for people to remain in EU countries, and be a contributing factor to the rise in the purchase of UK properties from those living abroad.
The appeal of secure property, to many, seems to be a factor in their decision to buy: turning to property finders enables the assessment and purchase of properties with from abroad with ease. Allowing a property finding service like County Homesearch to compile a list of potential properties, and assess them with expert knowledge is for many people the solution to problems of uncertain property ownership post-Brexit.
If you would like to speak to County Homesearch about engaging the services of one of our property finders from abroad, please do get in touch with us today.