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Europeans are still house hunting in London

12 October 2017

Amidst all the fury surrounding Brexit, talk of no deals and backroom agreements, it seems that European real estate investors are still keen on London. A report by home rental website Spotahome showed that traffic on their website was dominated by French visitors representing more than 20% of the traffic with British investors making up just 12%. There was also significant interest from Spanish, German and Italian real estate investors which would suggest that the future of the UK may not be wholly linked to Brexit.

LONDON PROPERTY PRICES

We know that London property prices have shown a significant slowdown in growth over the last 12 months. A recent report confirmed annual growth of just 1.9% for London property prices to the end of August against a figure of 10% last year. This puts London towards the bottom end of the UK’s 20 largest cities although it is worth noting that London property prices have still increased by 1.9% even during what are extremely challenging times.

Whether this positive trend can be maintained is debatable with prices having fallen by 0.6% during the month of September. While annual London rent rises to the year ended September 2017 still increased by 1.9% this was below the UK average of 2.1%.

CURRENCY CONSIDERATIONS

There are a variety of different debates ongoing regarding the London property market and the UK in general. Amidst a stall in Brexit talks we have even heard whispers of a second referendum which many believe would see a vote in favour of the UK maintaining its position within the European Union. However, perhaps we need to look at the currency markets to see reasons why European investors may still be interested in the UK.

Since the Brexit vote in the summer of 2016 sterling has been under serious pressure resulting in falls of more than 20% against some of the leading worldwide currencies. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why European investors are looking to the UK? Or could it be that a release from the strict EU trading straitjacket might actually see the UK government negotiate favourable trade terms with worldwide partners?

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