With the housing market constantly evolving, Stuart Marshall of Liquid Expat Mortgages takes some time to react to the latest figures from the UK property market and unpack the implications for UK expat and foreign national investors.
House prices are still soaring. In April 2021, Rightmove reports that the average price of a UK home rose by 1.8%. The April ‘21 Halifax house price index showed that both house prices and transactional activity have been rising sharply too.
Even during the ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic, property prices have continued to increase. What’s more, there is no sign of any real slowdown coming soon.
That leaves the average cost of a home in the UK at an eye-watering £333,564.
According to Rightmove data, Wales tops the chart in house price growth, with an average price rise of 13%. This could be due to a mix of different factors ranging from the rise of the ‘staycation’ in the UK holiday market and growth areas like Cardiff. Other areas that have had strong price growth include Yorkshire & the Humber, the North East and North West. Meanwhile, prices in London continue to fall, though London property remains the most expensive in the country.
The rise in property prices is mainly being driven by consumer demand for larger properties. The demand for more space was a trend that started in lockdown. However, a shortage in housing stock in more rural or commuter areas means that people are paying far higher prices than before to ensure they get the property of their choice. Sellers are taking advantage of this trend too and making sure to offload their property with inflated prices – thus driving up prices even more.
On Your Marks, Get Set… Invest!
‘Prices are bound to fall at some stage in the future’ says Stuart Marshall. ‘For UK expats and foreign nationals looking to invest, you need to keep an eye on a couple of things. For one, city centre areas that are currently being neglected in favour of more rural areas are sure to make a comeback. There are already signs of life returning to major UK cities and working from home can’t continue forever. As things return to normal, people are bound to trickle back into city centres and renter demand for those areas will grow again.’
‘Another reason to keep an eye on city centres is that many first-time buyers are being priced out of a large number of properties. With high prices and uncertainty, prospective first-time buyers are choosing to rent. And, with this choice, comes the decision for many to stay rooted to the city centre. With so many young people favouring city living, demand in major UK hotspots like Manchester and Liverpool is sure to continue the strong rental growth that has been exhibited over the last few years. These areas also show excellent opportunity for capital growth with the average property price in the North West projected to grow 24% in the next five years.’
‘The current market means that there are currently bargains to be had in city centre areas – especially in off-plan properties. For savvy UK expat and foreign national investors, this could mean a good return on investment in the future as life starts to return to a post-pandemic normal.’
A Drop Off in Prices.
‘Another thing that UK expat and foreign national investors need to look out for is a drop in the prices of family homes. Family homes can be incredibly profitable for investors. And while many will be returning to the city for work, there will be some people for whom the lockdown way of working will continue. And for others, the desire for more space will continue regardless of where they are working. For some of those people, buying a family home is not possible as fewer first-time buyers make the transition from the rental market into property ownership. For those who can’t afford a family home but still want more space, renting in commuter areas is the only option.’
‘For UK expat and foreign national investors who can take advantage of a lull in the prices of family homes, this investment can pay dividends for many years to come. Sellers are currently trying to cash in on the hugely inflated prices that family homes are demanding. Buyers with the means to do so are also currently prepared to pay these higher sums to make sure that they get the home they want. But, when the economic aftermath of the pandemic begins to exhibit its effects, and the various government incentives – like the Stamp Duty Holiday, Furlough and Self-Employment Income Support schemes – end, this might have a massive effect on people’s potential to both sell and buy at the prices that we’re currently seeing.’
Liquid Expat Mortgages
Unit F2, Waterfold Business Park,
Bury BL9 7BR
Phone: +44 (0) 161 871 1216
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