The UK property market is one admired the world over. There is a rich tradition of quality house building and a stable economic backdrop that proves alluring for both owner-occupiers and property investors. In 2011 Drivers Jonas Deloitte reported that over 60% of new home sales in Central London were to overseas investors - just a small indicator of how popular the UK is on a global scale.
Types of property available to buy in the UK
It is possible to find the home of your dreams in the UK, whatever your taste. Many international buyers are attracted to period and listed properties, with fine examples from the Edwardian, Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras found across the UK. As well as smart estates in London - with architects including John Nash and Decimus Burton bringing regal flair to house design - cities like Bath feature stunning Palladian architecture and grand homes. The UK’s industrial heritage has also left an imposing legacy, with many warehouses in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle now converted into loft-style character properties. As well as a glorious past, the UK’s current housebuilding programme is yielding some magnificent brand new homes. Skylines across the country are punctuated by gleaming residential skyscrapers, the coastline is being embellished with stunning waterside properties while the countryside is gaining new classics in the shape of cottage and farmhouse-style dwellings.
Where’s popular in the UK?
London remains a favourite. It is a city divided into quarters - North, East, South and West - and is further sectioned into towns and neighbourhoods, linked together by an excellent transport network. Working in London doesn’t have to mean living in London, however. Many professionals choose property for sale in the ‘Home Counties’ - the regions of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. These areas encircle London and are renowned for their speedy commutes into the city tempered with country villages and good educational facilities. Other leading UK cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool and Bristol - all centres of commerce with universities and major road/rail infrastructures.
UK property prices
There has been broad uplift in property prices in the UK, with values rising since the last recession (post-2007). There are many different house price indexes tracking values in the UK and one of the most respected, produced by property portal Rightmove, shows that average UK property value have risen 5.6% in the last year*. The average UK property now costs almost £300,000, although that figures rises to over £630,000 for an average property in Greater London. Generally there is a strong North-South divide in the UK when it comes to house prices, with higher values in the South (although there are pockets of desirability and affluence across the country). Properties for sale in Central, West and North West London command the highest prices, running into multiple millions.
The cost of buying a property in the UK
The legal process of buying a property in the UK does involve a number of costs. The biggest being stamp duty - a property tax every purchaser, whichever country they are from, has to pay the Government. Properties worth more than £500,000 bought by international purchasers through companies fall into a tax bracket of 15%.There is also a sliding scale of stamp duty payable on homes bought on a personal basis, with tax rates of between 2% and 12% - applied on a proportional basis. When buying a property in the UK, purchasers need to factor in the cost of a conveyancing solicitor to manage the legalities of transferring ownership, fees levied by mortgage lenders, international removal costs, and ground rent/service charges (most relevant to flats/apartments).
Securing a property in the UK
The UK property market is two things: fast paced and localised. Winkworth International can help on both fronts. We have a network of offices spanning most of the UK, staffed by property professional who know the local market inside out. Our internationally-recognised brand means vendors of the most impressive UK homes choose us to sell their property. We urge international buyers to register with us to ensure first refusal on the latest homes. We hold a waiting list of purchasers who have priority on homes just coming to market and the only way to join this list is to register with us directly. Once you have found a property in the UK, Winkworth would be delighted to assist you with booking viewings, making an offer, mortgage applications and conveyancing.
*October 2014 to October 2015.
If you are considering buying a property in the UK or you would like further information on the process, please contact us. We would be pleased to answer your questions and assist you in finding a dream home in the UK.
This information is for guidance purposes only and is subject to change. Winkworth recommend that prospective buyers or sellers of foreign property obtain professional legal advice.