Is overseas interest in UK property really rising?

UK property portal Placebuzz has issued some very interesting data regarding overseas interest in UK property. This comes at a time when the UK is gripped with Brexit fever and sterling is under pressure due to the uncertainty. It has always been assumed that overseas interest in UK property would rise as sterling fell but to what extent has been the subject of much debate. However, it does seem as though interest is growing with sterling still around 12% below its pre-EU referendum level.

Recent activity

Searches from overseas buyers accounted for 6.2% of all searches in the first three months of 2019. This compares to a figure of just 3.6% in the three-month period to March 2016. When you bear in mind the hundreds of thousands of searches per year this is a significant increase. This then prompt the question, which countries are showing the greatest interest in UK property?

We will now take a look at the top five countries with investors showing interest in UK property:-

  1. USA
  2. Spain
  3. Ireland
  4. Australia
  5. South Africa

While the likes of the USA and Spain would likely be a given for many people, it is interesting to see that investors from Ireland, Australia and South Africa have increased their searches on UK property portals. It is fairly obvious that there are strong links with Ireland, Australia and South Africa with similar cultures and long-term ties. In some ways it also reflects the growing number of visitors to the UK from outside of the European Union.

Which cities in the UK are attracting most interest?

While the likes of London obviously attract most interest when it comes to the UK property market, at this moment in time London is not the number one priority for overseas investors. The top four UK cities when it comes to overseas property investors are currently:-

  1. Birmingham
  2. Glasgow
  3. London
  4. Manchester

Those who follow the UK property market will be well aware of significant investment in cities such as Birmingham and Manchester in recent times. We have also seen some major changes with regards to Glasgow with significant investment by the Scottish government and property developers. There is also no doubt that the U.K.’s far-reaching airline routes have proven particularly attractive with regards to investors from Asia and the Far East. For many it is now simply a hop skip and a jump onto a plane to the UK whether a tourist, investor or student.

Will overseas interest continue?

At this moment in time it seems there are as many people negative on the UK property market as there are positive. The negativity seems to come from the UK/EU while the US, Asia and many other areas of the world still view the UK property market as a leader in its field. It is fair to say that London property prices have struggled of late although in reality they have outperformed all areas of the UK in the medium to long term. Time and time again so-called “experts” try to write off London as a financial and an investment capital of the world. Brexit may well be London’s most challenging situation of recent times but those who underestimate the power and attractions of London have probably never visited the city.

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