Very good news for expat UK property owners

UK house prices hit a new record high last month as they saw the biggest monthly rise since August last year, new figures show. The average price of a UK property rose by 1.5% in March compared to February to hit £228,000 – the highest figure on record.

Prices in the first three months of 2018 were down by 0.1% compared to the previous quarter – the second consecutive quarterly decline.

Price growth and activity levels in general had softened compared with a year ago.

The annual pace of growth accelerated to 2.8% from 1.85% in February – but is down from 3.8% in March last year.

House prices in the three months to March were largely unchanged compared with the previous quarter. The annual rate of growth continues to be in a narrow range of under 3%; though the average price of £228,000 is a new high. House sales stalled at the beginning of 2018 and mortgage approvals were down on last year, with activity remaining very subdued.

In the coming months it is expected that price growth will remain close to the expert’s prediction of 3% despite the very positive factors of continuing low mortgage rates, great affordability levels and a robust labour market. The continuing shortage of properties for sale will also support price growth.

In many respects, a report suggesting that house price growth is mainly unchanged represents a “no news is good news” result for the property market, as given the current challenges of low available stock levels, impending interest rate increases and ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

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Expat lending still rising and will continue to do so

Expat mortgage lending is forecast to reach the highest level since the financial crash of 2007 despite Brexit uncertainties, according to the latest annual market review.

If all the predictions are correct, 2018 will see the eighth year of expat mortgage lending growth.

A great deal of this growth will be driven by re-mortgage activity, figures would suggest the expat has become a great deal wiser of late and making the most of lower interest rates.

Expats buy-to-let lending looks like recovering in 2018 and 2019 despite the adverse tax changes for landlords. Again, this growth is likely to be driven by a strong re-mortgage market and an improvement in house purchase lending brought about by a higher level of “churning” in the market.

Lending via intermediaries/brokers is also expected to increase again as expats look for help in securing their mortgages. Broker activity has grown rapidly over the last 3 years as tighter lending rules have come into force.

The forecasts are based on an analysis of current trends within the housing market.

Despite the recovery of the housing market and the availability of mortgage finance since the last recession, stricter affordability rules are limiting activity which makes the figures and predictions even more promising.

UK property values in 2018

According to the latest figures house prices are still on the rise, January and February saw an average 2.3% increase (except London) as the UK economy continues to strengthen even with the Brexit situation.

It is expected that house price increases will level out as the year goes on with a steady and reliable growth rate, again spelling good news all round.

Is the future bright for UK property?

Expats with UK property holdings will be encouraged by the recent predictions various experts have expressed on the UK housing market. This is the predicted general outlook for 2018 and beyond but who knows how accurate this will be with the Brexit situation. It would seem a deal is close, and this could have a very positive slant on the predictions.

2017 saw annual house price inflation slow down considerably from the previous 5 years but increases were good and stable.

House prices could rise by 2-5% this year as the number of transactions stabilise – that is the prediction from various prominent Chartered Surveyors.

Property values will rise in each region of the UK this year, with East Anglia, the North West and West Midlands recording higher gains than the national average. Central London is likely to stabilise after recent declines, with support provided by the much weaker exchange rate encouraging foreign buyers.

Although recent announcements by the Government on housing are very welcome, the ongoing shortfall of stock across much of the sales and lettings markets is set to continue to underpin prices and rents.

Meanwhile the lack of existing inventory in the market is impacting the ability of households to move home and will contribute toward transaction activity over the whole of 2018.

Summing up the findings, generally the outlook for expat UK property owner seems bright and will still represents a sound long-term investment.

Can we help?

If you are looking for a new or re-mortgage please do make contact and one of our fully qualified advisers we will be happy to assist.