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Optimistic signs in expat buy to let market as mortgages rates fall and prices stabilise

The UK buy to let housing market may have turned an important corner with major lenders announcing lower rates for expat buy to let mortgages and two property portals, Zoopla and Rightmove,  announcing that the supply of houses put on the market had increased by 5.9% in January and asking prices had risen by 0.9% in the same period respectively. Previously, Rightmove had noted UK house prices had fallen over the latter part of 2022, especially following the brief Truss government.

Guy Stephenson of expat mortgage brokers Offshoreonline commented, “We are now seeing at least one lender offering expat buy to let mortgages at a margin of less than 1% over UK Base Rate. We have not seen such margins in probably ten years, but it is an another signal that markets are returning to a new normal, with the UK Base Rate now expected to remain at a much higher level than was the case since the financial crash of 2008/2009. The inevitable result of higher UK Base Rates is that lenders are having to trim margins to remain competitive.”

House prices have remained solid in many parts of the UK, despite steeply rising mortgage rates, as the supply of homes for sale has been outstripped by the demand for property. With the supply side of the market now showing a significant jump, according to Zoopla, expat buy to let investors should now have a much wider choice.

Offshoreonline is also reporting the return of many smaller building society lenders to the market after they abruptly withdrew in the face of market volatility during the political turmoil seen in September and October.

Stephenson ends, “With more lenders returning to the expat mortgage market and those lenders now clearly seeking to price expat buy to let mortgages competitively, we are optimistic and feel that 2023 will in fact be a year when expat buyers return to the market.”

January 2023

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