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Brexit backfires as it brings in flood of foreign buyers - new figures

If anyone thought Brexit may allow domestic buyers a bigger share of the market, think again: no fewer than 57 per cent of homes purchased in prime central London in the second half of 2018 were snapped up by foreign buyers - the highest level since 2012. 

Foreign purchasers also accounted for 36 per cent of all homes in Greater London as a whole in the second half of last year.

The data comes from Countrywide’s high-end brand Hamptons International which says that the single biggest group of foreign purchasers came from the EU - these countries accounted 19 per cent of all the homes in prime central London bought in the second half of last year, compared to just 10 per cent in the same period of 2017.

The attraction, it appears, is the cheap pound as a result of depreciation since the EU Referendum in June 2016.

“Sterling’s weakness, making it cheaper for many international buyers, seems to be outweighing Brexit uncertainty when it comes to foreign buyers making a decision on where to buy a home” explains Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International.  

“A property that would have cost an EU buyer £1million in the first half of 2016 effectively cost £124,000 less in the second half of 2018 due to Sterling’s depreciation.”

The proportion of international buyers overall in prime central London - 57 per cent in H2 2018 - was up from 55 per cent in H2 2017 and 39 per cent in H2 2016. The proportion of homes bought by Middle Eastern buyers nearly halved over the last year from 15 per cent in H2 2017 to eight per cent in H2 2018.

Meanwhile in the much larger Greater London area the proportion of homes bought by an international buyer also rose to the highest level in six years.  

In H2 2018 international buyers bought 36 per cent of homes in Greater London, up from 31 per cent in H2 2017.  

This proportion is 15 per cent higher than in H2 2015 (pre-referendum) when 21 per cent of homes were purchased by an international buyer.

This pickup, as in central London, was down to an increase in EU buyers in Greater London.  

Some 14 per cent of homes in Greater London were purchased by EU buyers in H2 2018, up from eight per cent in H2 2017 and 10 per cent in H2 2015 (pre-EU referendum).

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    It's a big boys playground right now, the little boys are sitting back and watching to look for some certainty whereas the big boys don't mind big risks and big rewards.

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