property


Expats buying more affordable property in the UK

by Ray Clancy on September 4, 2014

British expats are increasingly buying property in the UK, but they aren’t splashing out, with the most popular investments in the £55,000 to £70,000 range, research has found.

According to Find UK Property, a company that specialises in finding properties for overseas investors, sales to British expats have increased by 60% in the first half of this year.

HOUSElevels

Property sales to British expats have increased by 60% in the first half of this year

Its data also shows that sales to expats and to non-UK nationals of properties worth £70,000 or less had risen by 55% compared with the first half of last year. Many are opting for properties that come with management and guaranteed rents.

Part of the reason is that the UK property market is regarded as a safe haven for buy-to-let types of investment with well-regulated selling laws and clear title ownership.

Buyers are also looking beyond London, which is generally too expensive for this level of investment. The most popular purchase is a two-bedroom house at £54,999 with a rental yield of 8%.

A comparable property in London would cost over £250,000 with a rental yield of just 3%. Andy Noble of Find UK Property also pointed out that less expensive properties often have greater potential for capital growth, and also give investors greater flexibility.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Guides Company has published some tips for expats selling their overseas properties. Its advice includes getting the price right and considering speaking to the agent that sold property the as they will have the best knowledge on how to sell it again.

Make sure you give the estate agent everything they need to educate themselves on the details necessary to sell your property. ‘Include photos of your property at its best, all documentation including a copy of the deeds, a survey if necessary, floor plans if you have them and reports,’ the guidelines say.

It points out that in some countries, things like electrical compliance reports and energy efficiency ratings must be included in advertising. Other useful information for agents includes the yearly cost of taxes and utilities and a list of nearby amenities such as shops, schools, transport links etc.

The firm also says it’s important to check the description of your property, whatever language it is written in. These will all ensure your property stands out from the crowd.

The other issue, often overlooked, is exchange rates. ‘If you are sending the proceeds from the sale of your property back to the UK, you will need to think about the exchange rate and how it could change between the day you accept an offer and the day you complete the sale – potentially losing you a significant amount of money,’ the guide says.

Expats might consider using a currency specialist to find out the most favourable options for finding the best exchange rate. What’s more, you can also get a fixed rate for up to a year.

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