The Brexit vote is making it easier for Fergus Wilson, one Britain’s richest landlords, to offload up to £250 million of his property portfolio. As DMZ has previously stated, Brexit has seen the foreign exchange rate drop by 10% making buying property a great time for foreign investors.
Wilson is looking to sell 900 rented houses to a consortium of Arab investors, and DMZ has special access to reveal that half of these properties have already been sold. Wilson discussed his property sell off with The Financial Times where the falling value of the pound, representing 30-year lows against the US dollar has made it cheaper for overseas investors.
“I think foreign buyers are saying at the moment that Brexit helps as it is cheaper [to buy UK property] in their money [after the fall in sterling]. Many… are trophy hunters — they want to impress their friends with a photo of the house they own in Britain,” he told the FT.
As Wilson rushes to sell his property portfolio he is looking to make £200 million in profits. Furthermore, Wilson has great concerns for buy-to-let landlords due to recent changes in how landlords can obtain mortgages. “Is it the wrong time to be an amateur landlord? Yes. Some people will succeed but on the whole, too many amateurs walk into pitfalls… The day of the amateur landlord is over.”
A 3% surcharge now applies to all purchases of second homes. Astonishingly, the buy-to-let mortgages were down 85.4% in April compared to March following the introduction of the new stamp duty.
There has also been a huge spike in Chinese investor interest in UK property post-Brexit. Juwai, China’s biggest international property portal, said the number of Chinese buyer inquiries into UK property in the month after Britain voted to leave the European Union was 40 per cent higher than average.
Global clients who invested in London between 2009 and 2013 made a combined £116 million in capital appreciation by April 2016. Brexit aside, DMZ remain of the view that the UK is still a tier-one property hotspot. And with a weakned pound, the opportunity for real estate investors is a golden one.