The dramatic fall in the value of sterling, together with political uncertainty has turned the UK into a ‘goldmine for foreign investors seeking a bargain,’ says real estate expert Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of finance house Octane Capital.
Sales of homes over £10 million tripled in the year after the EU referendum in May 2016 and the pound’s continued weakness has kept up interest from global top end buyers. ‘While many homeowners sit on their hands during times for political and economic volatility, the ultra-wealthy often used these periods to acquire assets at a significant discount,’ said Samuels.
Even though stamp duty on second homes was introduced in 2016, the fall in sterling has ‘more than compensated’ for this, according to Samuels. ‘For many very-high-net-worth individuals the fallout from the EU referendum vote was an investment opportunity.’
In recent weeks there have been several high profile acquisitions of luxury London homes, including a seven-bedroom house in Primrose Hill for £17.5 million and a six-bedroom townhouse overlooking a private cricket pitch in Chelsea, sold for £13.7 million.
Overall, shrewd buyers may be able to spot bargains in the current market, as sellers are liable to mis-judge values or become panicked. ‘People are jumping the wrong way. Sometimes people are selling for less than they might have been able to get,’ says Henry Pryor, a buying agent.
Whichever way the markets turn after Brexit, this is a period of heightened volatility, with good deals on offer to those agile and smart enough to act.