It’s been a long time since market conditions have been so favorable for first-time buyers in general and expat first-time buyers in particular. Here is a quick run-down of the main reasons why now is a great time to be an expat first-time buyer in the UK – and what they mean for you.
There is a Cross-Party Commitment to Building New Homes
The need for new housing is one of the few issues on which politicians of all persuasions can generally agree, in broad terms at least. Although the media has tended to focus on developments that have improved life for renters, there has also been a lot of work done to increase the housing stock available to residential buyers, especially first-time buyers.
London and Manchester have both seen major pushes in the building of new homes. London and its surrounding areas have long been notorious for a shortage of housing. In truth, this shortage is nowhere near resolved, but it has certainly been alleviated. Manchester, by contrast, has long been famous for the fact that it offers the attractions of London at a much more affordable price, particularly if you are looking to buy a house.
This difference has helped to encourage significant numbers of people, especially young-adult professionals, to make the move up north (and encouraged local young adults to stay there rather than making the trip down south). It is therefore hardly surprising that the local authorities in Manchester have been keen to maintain it and have really supported and encouraged sustainable development.
While this commitment to building new housing is expected to continue over the long term, nothing is guaranteed, so if you’re thinking of buying, then it’s strongly recommended to take advantage of opportunities while they are available. With an array of estate agents in Manchester and London with various property types to choose from, you are sure to find something that will suit your lifestyle and budget.
Brexit has been Acting as a Brake on the Housing Market
It’s common knowledge that many people, both buyers, and sellers, have been adopting a “wait and see” approach with regard to Brexit. Although Brexit is now in what should be its final stages, there is still quite a way to go before we know what form it will take and even further before it becomes “the new normal”. In short, the housing market is expected to start to pick up from now on, but it’s probably going to be at least a year or two before we start seeing robust house-price appreciation.
This means that buyers who act quickly could secure properties while prices are still very attractive and then enjoy the benefits of capital appreciation as the housing market begins to pick up.
Interest Rates are at Historic Lows
Even though the prospect of Brexit provoked fears about inflation, so far, these have not been proven to be justified. Of course, now that Brexit is, or should be, in its final stages, they may start to rise, but if this is a concern for buyers then they can secure fixed-rate mortgages to give them peace of mind over the medium term. Again, buyers who act quickly will be in the best position to secure the most attractive rates.
The Pound Continues to be Weak
The great news for expat first-time buyers is that the Pound continues to be weak and looks set to remain so for the immediate future while Brexit is still an ongoing concern. This means that expat buyers have a great opportunity to snap up UK property at a substantial discount. In fact, this buying opportunity may never be repeated and even if it is, it will probably be a very long time in the future.
Demand for Rental Property Continues to be High
Expat buyers are likely to want to rent out their UK property to earn an income (or at least pay its keep) while they are overseas. This means that the strength of the rental market is often a major concern for them. The good news is that the demand for a rental property in the UK continues to be high.
While Brexit is, of course, one factor behind the level of demand, it is far from the only one. Even though the UK is still very much a “home-owning” culture, there is a growing appreciation of the benefits of renting as a lifestyle option especially for young adults, both students, and professionals. There is also a high demand for short-term lets, most noticeably for holidaymakers (the UK benefits from significant levels of domestic tourism), but also for students (e.g. EFL students) and commercial travelers.
Finding Help with Moving Professionals
We hope you found this blog on Thinking of Moving Relocating to the UK? Why Now is a Great Time to be an Expat First-Time Buyer useful. For more tips, check out this one blog on How to Choose an Investment Property Abroad.
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