The last few weeks have certainly been uncertain. Whilst the EU referendum both pre and post vote affected peoples’ property investment decisions, other elements such as tax changes, lending restrictions and a rush to buy in advance of the introduction of higher stamp duty have all affected the market.
The recent UK Residential Market Survey report published by the RICS revealed the impact that the climate of uncertainty is having on the market. The three main observations in the report are; the number of buyer enquiries have fallen to the level they were at in 2008; a sharp reduction in the number of agreed sales with a further drop predicted and an expectation that in the next 12 months house prices in the London and East will fall.
However, according to the report, rents in the same regions appeared to have been unaffected by the changes we have seen over the last two weeks and are still in line to meet the forecast of increasing by 20% over the next five years.
This is good news for buy to let landlords, who may be able to take advantage of lower property prices and achieve a promising return on their investment, at a time when interest rates are low, and which experts predict will fall further.
The prospect of healthy rental income may help offset some of the challenges facing the buy to let investor, including recent tax changes and the tightening up of lending criteria.
On another positive note, a weaker pound will make London’s property market even more attractive to the overseas investor. Jon Luk, head of Alliotts China Desk said ‘Wealthy individuals from China, Hong Kong and South East Asia are always interested in London property, the city has so much to offer and our education system is a huge draw’ he added, ‘I'm working with a number of investors looking to buy London property, they are not deterred by recent events as they see property as a long term investment’
My colleagues and I are dealing with daily enquiries on tax matters from individuals based overseas with UK property interests and who are not showing any inclination towards disposing of them. This points to confidence in the UK residential property market as a longer term investment.