A hop across the big pond for some of our American readers, the UK stands as one of the most influential islands in the world. Consisting of 4 countries- England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the UK holds much appeal for many international investors, particularly those from Hong Kong, as recent figures have concluded.
The lure of England extends from its historical villages, towns and attractions, scattered across the country, to its cosmopolitan capital of London that is home to business jet setters and a lively atmosphere. Whilst many of the sea-side destinations, like Cornwall, attract internationals looking for a peaceful retreat in the UK.
Scotland boasts some fantastic sights, from its natural scenery to its sophisticated cities. Delve into outdoor adventures, inky blue waters if you dare, and a captivating history that leaves many falling in love with this magical destination.
Wales holds onto its traditional roots, whilst the rest of the UK speaks English, you can expect to hear a glorious combination of Welsh and English in this little corner of the world. It’s not just the language that is diverse, but also the geology, with mountains to climb, river valleys to explore, forests to walk through and coasts to wander. Alongside the scenery to bask in, there is a rich sense of history and mystery with castles and stone circles to marvel at. Whilst Northern Ireland rustic charm and welcoming atmosphere brings many to its shores.
The first quarter of 2016 saw a surge in activity in the housing market, partly because of the upcoming buy-to-let stamp duty surcharges that investors raced to beat. According to reports by Nationwide, the average house price rose in the UK by 5.3% during the year 2015 to the end of quarter 1 in 2016. Whilst the outer metropolitan area of London saw a staggering 11.9% increase in this same period, which was closely followed by London with an 11.2% increase. In a stark contrast, the north-west only saw a 0.2% increase, whilst both Scotland and the north of England saw slight price declines, making these areas desirable for international investors wanting a great deal.
The new stamp duty, which applied to all buy-to-let purchases in the UK, came into effect in April 2016, adding to existing Stamp Duty rates. This made investors with buy-to-let intentions particularly cautious. Perhaps this is another reason why there has been much interest in the flourishing Portuguese property market, with British investors snapping up Algarve property for sale for buy-to-let reasons.
Property prices remained strong across other parts of the UK in 2016, with the UK house prices increasing due to immigration and population growth, as well as low-interest rates. Despite the growth in the property market, the government commissioned thousands of new affordable homes in 2016 to help first-time buyers to join the market.
Despite the uncertainties of the UK market at present, the UK market has still experienced vast investments from international investors from Hong Kong and China.
Investment from Chinese and Hong Kong has remained consistently high since 2013. The weakened pound, due to economic uncertainties, has left the exchange rate for Asian currencies to the Great British pound at an appealing rate, therefore increasing the demand for luxury UK property from wealthy Asian investors. Despite the uncertainty of Brexit and what this means for the UK, the collapse of the sterling in the post-referendum has provided a golden opportunity for international investors, not only those from China and Hong Kong, to gain a luxury property in the UK.
For Asian companies and entrepreneurs, UK property for sale provides a stable long-term gain in a risk diversification strategy where their own markets have seen instability and political chaos. Whilst the living environments of the UK also appeal to international investors with the eye to emigrate, with university educations available to their children.
So, despite uncertainties, the UK market is still very valuable to international investors who can see past the current status for a long-term gain.