More and more of the UK’s property investors are again spreading their net internationally, thanks to the strong position of the pound. According to new research as many as 46% of property investors based in the UK, could be looking abroad in order to take advantage of favourable exchange rates.
This information comes from a recent study by Fxcompared Intelligence, a money transfer comparison specialist. The poll was commissioned shortly after the general election concluded with a victory for the Conservative Party. It revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents are thinking about purchasing a property outside the UK in the next 12-18 months. A number of reasons were identified by the survey as being behind the increased level of UK interest in foreign properties, with a strong pound as one of the more prominent.
Sterling is currently in a strong position, and exchanges favourably with many other currencies. In particular, it has recently hit long-time high levels against the euro, opening up opportunities in a number of key continental markets. As a result, British buyers are finding that the same amount of money goes further than ever before in many overseas markets, making international property investment all the more attractive.
At the same time, a number of other important factors are also helping to encourage British buyers to look overseas for property investments. In many markets around the world, the lettings climate for both residential and commercial properties is improving – in some cases after prices have been brought down by long slumps – leading to renewed interest from many international investors including those in the UK. The Conservative victory in the general election is also seen as a factor, with a fifth of respondents who are interested in buying abroad claiming this is one of the key reasons for doing so at this time.
Other important factors at play include the increased accessibility of credit to fund overseas property, as well as the way these rates compare internationally. 22% of investors state that easier access to mortgages was an influencing factor, and 12% said they were looking overseas partly because other countries were offering better mortgage deals. 16% stated that property tax and stamp duty changes figured in their decision to look at property investments outside the UK, and 14% stated that recent rule changes are making it easier to access pension funds formed an important factor.
The poll also revealed some interesting data about the types of property these investors are considering. With the strong pound allowing the same volume of sterling funds to go further in many overseas markets, a quarter of those who are interested in foreign property investments are looking at larger properties. Regarding location, a full 48% identified better weather as a factor, 42% singled out accessibility as something to look for, and 21% hoped to find an area that was up-and-coming.