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Stamp Duty surcharge likely to hit foreign investment in UK property - warning

The UK is only the eighth most popular country for Asian investment buyers, and accounts for just three per cent of all international Asian buyer activity. 

The UK is beaten by the US, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore.

This data comes from Juwai, a Chinese website majoring in international buyer users. 

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It says that the UK is a traditional gateway to the world for Asian international buyers due to its historic presence in the region and reputation for educational excellence. 

But rather than diminish Asian demand, the Brexit vote back in 2016 temporarily kindled a resurgence, the portal says, by pushing the British pound down approximately 10 per cent against the Chinese yuan and other Asian currencies. However, it says this Brexit boost began to peter out by the fourth quarter of 2019.

Business picked up again in the later part of 2020, according to Juwai, with the largest group of Asian buyers - those from mainland China - making  91 per cent more purchasing enquiries on UK residential property in the second half of 2020 than in the first half.

“The late 2020 surge was driven by a desire to beat the coming surcharge in overseas buyers stamp duty, as well as the still-weak pound sterling. The imminent deadline for the surcharge, which will be introduced from April 1 2021, gave some Asian buyers the urgency they needed to overcome the friction of making purchases from afar during the pandemic” says Juwai.

Now it says that “we forecast some decline in Asian transactions in the latter half of 2021, due to transactions that have been brought forward before April 1. We are hesitant to predict that the surcharge will have a sustained impact on the levels of Asian buying. 

“If it does, we expect the impact to be most visible in the off-plan and new-build markets. The UK will remain a premier destination for second homes, immigration and education.”

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