increase in enquiries from overseas buyers
Legal & General Mortgage Club has stated that there has been a significant rise in adviser mortgage searches for non-UK residents since the stamp duty holiday announcement.
The SmartrCriteria tool, from the Club, has shown that criteria searches showed the fourth most search term was “visas” during the first week of June and the most searched term by the end of July.
Other highly searched terms by mortgage advisers were “expats not in the UK”, either separately or as a combined search with “foreign income”, which has remained in the top five searches throughout July.
It is thought that the increase in interest from overseas buyers comes from the recent stamp duty holiday, announced by Rishi Sunak, which increased the threshold before stamp duty is liable to £500,000. There may also be an increase in enquiries as there will be a 2% increase in the stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers from April 2021.
SmartrCriteria searches related to applicants on a visa showed a 146% increase for buy-to-let searches, as well as 97% for residential criteria enquiries since May 2020. Of the residential visa searches made in July 2020 by advisers, 88% of applicants have a tier 2 or other working visa and the majority (71%) have been in the UK for two years or more.
Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said:
“Britain’s housing market is bucking the trend and has faced unprecedented levels of demand since reopening in May, and now figures show that a growing number of overseas buyers are also taking interest in UK property. Our SmartrCriteria tool is tracking some of the key industry trends in the mortgage market’s new normal and shows recent announcements from the Government have clearly gained the attention of non-UK based buyers. Many are now looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday while also investing in the market before the 2% surcharge for overseas customers takes effect.
“Our latest figures also coincide with increased interest from Hong Kong buyers, who are now looking to the UK housing market as a ‘safe haven’ amidst political uncertainty in the territory.
“There is an opportunity for advisers to support many of these buyers, particularly if they have little to no credit history in the UK. Lending criteria is changing every day in the mortgage market at the moment, and advisers will be key in helping these borrowers and others to cut through the noise and find the best product for their particular circumstances.”