Brexit, moving abroad and mortgage advice

This article is part of
Guide to advising on overseas mortgages

Brexit, moving abroad and mortgage advice

Brexit: how much will this dent overseas mortgage business - both in terms of expats buying abroad and foreign nationals buying in the UK?

While negotiations are still ongoing, there is no quantifiable answer as it could be several years before statistics reflect any downturn or upturn in the market. 

According to the latest European Mortgage Federation (EMF) review, it is still too early to say whether 2016’s shock vote to leave the European Union has had a drastic impact on people’s appetite for mortgages, either domestically or across Europe.

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Its latest position paper: the Quarterly Review - Q4 2016, states: “Mortgage lending was distorted in the first half of 2016, as a tax change on second homes led to a big jump in activity before March 2016, offset by weak activity in the months thereafter.

“This made it difficult to say what the impact of the EU referendum in June 2016 had on the market. The fact is that during the summer there was a dip, likely to have been caused by the sharp weakening of consumer sentiment and increased uncertainty immediately after the referendum.”

As a knee-jerk reaction, there was an instant drop off, due to investor uncertainty. This is the view of Mark Posniak, managing director of Octane Capital.

"Brexit had an immediate impact on the international market last year, with many investors pulling out of purchases." 

However, he continues: "Since then the market has calmed down and the UK has started to look attractive again."

His comments are backed up by the EMF document, which explains that a large part of the consumer uncertainty dissipated soon after, as some of the political uncertainty was resolved, and the Bank of England announced a significant monetary stimulus package in August, to support the domestic economy.

So far, says Nigel Green, chief executive of the deVere Group, "there appears to be little change presently in the number of enquiries we receive for Brits wishing to buy overseas".

He explains: "There is very little evidence presently that suggests once the UK has left Europe, that Brits will no longer wish to buy abroad. With more than 1.2m Brits living in EU member states, I suspect there will still be a buoyant market."

Indeed, Julian Sampson, head of lending for TWM Solicitors, is of the belief there is little impact so far: "There has been no slowing of property transactions and interest by global funds in the UK property market remains strong.

"In many respects it is likely that the UK will continue its love affair with property and with property abroad."

Product offerings

Indeed, some European lenders have improved their product offerings and reduced rates in order to entice Brits to continue taking out mortgages. Daniel Howarth, head of Enness International, says: "Brexit has had little direct effect on international property investments other than passively, through the volatility of the exchange rate.