The reassurances follow a warning that 1.8 million British expats living in the EU may be financially impacted if the UK crashes out of Europe with no deal, according to James Green, deVere Group’s divisional manager of Western Europe.
Last week Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that a no-deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world,” after the UK government published its first technical notices advising businesses and consumers on the preparations being done for the prospect of there being no Brexit deal.
Mark Harris, chief executive at Savills, told Mortgage Solutions there was no particular concern around the mortgage market ahead of Brexit.
He said: “Deal or not, lenders will continue to lend to both nationals and expats, who should demonstrate they own all the documentation required to prove they have the right criteria to proceed.”
Good average of demand
To support this statement, Guy Stephenson, director of Offshoreonline, explained that demand for UK property from overseas buyers was getting stronger, despite the year starting quietly.
He added: “The real question is whether Brexit may have an impact on UK house prices, but nobody knows the answer. It is hard to see how Brexit may affect the process for an EU based buyer in the UK, as in the event of a hard Brexit, it will be no worse than for a non-EU resident.
“Due to uncertainty around Brexit, some people could postpone their decision to get a mortgage. This could reduce the demand and house prices as a consequence.
“The only real impact we see concerns British people who want to buy in Europe. Indeed, the demand has dropped because they do not know what their living conditions will be after Brexit.”
Regular flow of applications
Marsden Building Society general manager Heather Crinion added that the situation for UK expats living abroad was still uncertain given the financial and political impact had yet to be confirmed for them.
She said: “As published recently, we have seen an increase in the past months on expat enquiries so it would seem that the market remains strong at present. Looking to the future, we would expect there will remain an expat community living abroad and as long as this remains, so does their mortgage need which we are committed to support.”
Skipton Director of business development Nigel Pascoe echoed this, noting that the lender continued to see a regular flow of mortgage applications from UK expats, even though a no-deal Brexit decision has been reported as increasingly likely over recent months.
He added: “Many expats view UK property investment as a long term strategy and will be expecting to return to the UK at some point in the future, so will be looking for investments in UK pounds.
“Also, the majority of expats are paid in a local currency and as such, a proportion of their savings are often held in a local currency. When the pound weakened, expats had an opportunity to reduce the local currency cost of purchasing a property back home making the potential returns more attractive,” he concluded.