British expats seeking buy to let opportunities back home

British expats have a strong appetite for buying property in their home country as they see it as a sound investment for the future, new research suggests.

Expats living in the United Arab Emirates, France and Switzerland are increasingly looking for buy to let opportunities, according to a report from Lloyds Bank.

The research found that 38% who plan to buy a property in the next two years are looking to rent it out to benefit from a regular income and only 11% are not confident about UK housing market growth.

Overall some 43% of expats questioned for the research said that they are likely to buy a property in the next two years, with 26% wanting to buy in the UK.
The desire for UK property looks to be a wise investment, with 71% of those that own rental properties in the UK having tenants in them at all times, compared to 47% of those that have foreign properties.
The UK is the favoured property purchase locations for British expats with 25.8% buying, followed closely by Australia at 24.7%. Some 15.1% opt for the United States, 8.2% Canada, 6.8% Spain, 5.4% New Zealand, and just 2.2% in France.

‘Confidence in the UK property market is very strong. Our Investor Sentiment Index showed that consumer sentiment for UK property had grown by 50% since March 2013, so it's not a surprise that Brits abroad are looking back home,’ said Richard Musty, director of Lloyds Bank International Banking.

‘While we welcome this investment in to Britain, it's important that expats consider all their options and think about a range of investments in their portfolio and not just property,’ he added.

For many expats, the relatively weak Sterling also makes the UK property market even more attractive as their Euros or US Dollars now buy them more Pounds than they would have done a few years ago.
For example, a £300,000 property is now approximately 25% cheaper to a European buyer than it was in 2007, prior to the financial crisis.

‘UK property prices are strengthening and British expats don't want to miss out on this investment opportunity. Our research shows that huge numbers of expats are now ready to take the plunge as they look to benefit from high rents and a relatively weak pound. With that in mind, any potential investor must make sure that they get the right advice before deciding to invest back in to the UK,’ Musty explained.

Expats based in the UAE, France and Switzerland are the most likely to buy in Britain, which may be related to geographic proximity or restrictive local laws in place for purchasing property in some countries. For example, 72% of those in the UAE already own a UK property, the highest in the survey.