Why Does UK Property Attract International Investors In Such High Numbers?

Why Does UK Property Attract International Investors In Such High Numbers?

Foreign investors are snapping up thousands of homes which are suitable for first-time buyers across the UK, with many using them as buy-to-let investments and holding them in offshore tax havens. Investment within UK real estate from foreign buyers and overseas-owned companies has soared in the past few years to reach totals in the billions, especially in London.

Research conducted by King’s College London, which has analysed the Land Registry data, has found that foreign investment in the UK’s property market has increased house prices by over 20% in the last 15 years.

Reducing Home Ownership

Across the different regions, there are huge variations in terms of the reduction of home ownership, with the majority of foreign investments concentrated within London and the south-east. For example, in Kensington and Chelsea, a prime London borough, a huge number of properties are owned by overseas investors.

The average home in this area fetched around £1.3 million in 2014. But, it has been noted that there has been a trickling effect which has come from the rising prices in London, which meant that houses even at the bottom of the pricing threshold have seen their prices pushed up. In other major cities, such as Manchester and Liverpool, price inflation has also been linked to foreign investment.

Changing UK Policies

For each percentage point that is added to the share of residential property that is owned by overseas investors, houses prices are typically found to increase by around 2.1%. When it comes to the debate on the impact of foreign and overseas investments within the housing market, it has quickly attracted the attention of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who has recently launched an inquiry into the consequences.

Other countries, including Australia, Canada and Switzerland, have also been debating this issue and have implemented policies to help control foreign investment. With new laws being brought in, as well as the introduction of a property register that means that all overseas companies must be transparent when it comes to the owners of properties which they possess in the UK, they must be able to, if necessary, disclose the source of the funds which were used to make the purchases.

New Enquiries

A new report has shown that Chinese enquiries into places to live in the UK have more than tripled, reaching a new high, between February and August this year. Interest in property in Manchester has seen a 200% increase, which tallies with the recent study which found direct flights from Beijing to Manchester has increased visitor numbers in the north-west from China, and which has found a rise in Chinese spending in the area since the flight route was introduced in 2016. Local chartered surveyors are able to help investors with acquiring new property, and those who already invest in the UK now also have the option of trading and refinancing stock whilst reinvesting elsewhere in the country.

Buyers from China are much more willing to buy and invest in flats that aren’t yet built or finalised than UK residents or locals. This then gives developers the pre-sales which they need to start construction. If you are looking for advice on investment and UK property, especially in the north-west, get in touch with local surveyors, such as Roger Hannah.