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Expats tempted back to UK property investment as sterling plummets

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Written by: Victoria Hartley
25/08/2017
As sterling continued to fall to new lows against the euro this week, Skipton International confirmed a big increase in mortgage enquiries from British expats since the Brexit vote on 23 June last year.

Figures to the end of July this year showed a 130% increase in enquiries for expat mortgages against the previous year.

The pound has managed to climb back up today to €1.0860 after falling to its lowest level against the euro in eight years yesterday as fears around Brexit negotiations grow.

It comes after experts predicted the pound and euro would hit 1:1 parity by next year, with US bank Morgan Stanley revealing it would be the first time the currencies would be at equal value in the single currency’s 18-year history.

Worldwide interest

However, the pound has crashed against many major global currencies since the vote last year.

Skipton said nearly a quarter of enquiries came from British expats in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The other top five countries driving enquiries included the USA (12.5%), then Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.

In the first five months of the year Skipton saw a 117% rise in British expats in Europe looking at investing in buy-to-let with double the queries on the same period in 2016.

Pound devaluation

Nigel Pascoe, director of lending, Skipton International, said: “The devaluation of the pound has meant that expats with foreign currency savings could potentially get more for their money. They can service the mortgage through rental payments in local currency and enjoy capital growth.

“This Brexit effect has been particularly marked for currencies such as the United Arab Emirates dirham and the Hong Kong dollar that are pegged to the US dollar, as well as to the euro.”

Skipton launched buy-to-let mortgages in 2014 and the Guernsey-regulated bank has completed over £190m of expat loans.

Pascoe said the Stamp Duty surcharge hasn’t deterred long-term investors.

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