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Trump helping drive expats back to Britain

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Written by: Owain Thomas
07/03/2017
British expats are increasingly moving back to the UK or entering the buy-to-let market, according to one mortgage broker.

Chris Lloyd, associate director at Enness Private Clients, told YourMoney.com‘s sister website Mortgage Solutions there has been a noticeable trend of Brits starting to flee the US, especially as President Trump’s administration beds-in.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people from the US who are looking to move back. I’ve just completed a mortgage for a couple coming back to the UK and got another that should be going through very shortly,” he said.

“A lot of bankers are moving back if they can stay with the same company and they can just transfer offices to the UK,” he added.

Lloyd noted that interest was also strong from Australia and Dubai.

“A lot of clients are taking advantage of the UK market with rates being so low; moving the money back just makes sense,” he said.

The comments echo results from Skipton International which saw its busiest month ever in February with enquiries from expats up 47% compared to January.

These figures follow on from a hike in applications from British expats last summer following the Brexit vote and the subsequent devaluation of the pound.

Skipton International director of lending Nigel Pascoe said the business had seen particularly large rises in interest from Gulf region expats.

“UK buy-to-let remains a very popular long term investment for British expats,” said Pascoe. “We saw a large increase in applications following the devaluation of sterling last autumn, with expats viewing it as an opportunity to use foreign savings to buy UK property.

“Investors can benefit from long-term capital gains, while servicing their mortgage from rents paid in the local currency,” he added.

Unsurprisingly London remained the key place to invest with Skipton International reporting around 40% of its expat mortgage customers investing in buy-to-let property in greater London, with another 25% in the south east of England.

Meanwhile, just 10% of expat buy-to-let purchase were in either the South West or the North West.

However, Enness’ Lloyd noted there was good reason to look outside the capital area.

“Outside of London, rent yields are better and interest rates are so low which is still driving the market forward,” he said.

And Lloyd believes the feelings are generally positive for the next few years.

“[Investors] do think interest rates are going to stay low for longer which is why a lot of clients aren’t going for five-year fixed rates, they’re still happy to go for a two-year fix, just to take advantage of the lower rates,” he added.

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