UK property investors fear Brexit will push away overseas buyers

The majority, some four fifths of property investors consider international buyer interest to be key in boosting property prices, according to new research.

But 55% of UK-based investors believe that Brexit will deter overseas buyers and this will in turn weaken the property market, the survey from Butterfield Mortgages Limited has found.

Overall, 82% of respondents said that they believe overseas buyers play a vital role in making the UK property market competitive and 57% think international property investment is important for the UK economy.

The investors surveyed said there should, however, be limitations on overseas buyers with
66% wanting an increase to the stamp duty payable by foreign buyers and 58% the introduction of a cap on the number of properties a non-UK resident can purchase.

The poll also found that 55% feel overseas buyers should be prevented from buying houses at the bottom end of the market so they do not damage the affordable housing supply.

‘As the UK heads towards the Brexit deadline, the country’s ability to attract international investment is going to be hugely important. This new research highlights how many property investors are concerned that we may, in fact, be pushing away overseas buyers and in turn damaging our own real estate market,’ said Alpa Bhakta, chief executive officer.

‘That said, it is clear that controls must be put in place to protect the interests of domestic buyers, whether that is a stamp duty surcharge or property cap for overseas buyers,’ he pointed out.

‘Ultimately, a fine balance must be found, as overseas buyers make a significant contribution to the UK economy through the purchase of prime properties, simultaneously ensuring the top end of the market remains competitive. They should not be pushed away too eagerly, nor made scapegoats as the UK struggles to address the bigger issue of a lack of affordable housing,’ he added.