Brexit, whether you like it or not, has happened, and the world has got to live with the consequences. Now, why would Britons, who are the biggest buyers of properties for sale overseas, vote to leave the European Union? That doesn’t make sense at all, but it’s not for us to judge.
Here, we focus on the impact of Brexit so far on the overseas property market. We can tell you things are just as they used to be across the Channel, nothing really has changed.
In fact, if you take a trip around France or Spain, and talk to the local agents there, you wouldn’t even know that there was a major referendum held recently in which Britain voted to leave the EU. Britons are still the most dominant buyers of European properties.
So, if you’re looking to sell a holiday home overseas fast, your best chances are to find a British buyer, failing which, you can look for buyers from emerging nations such as China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Ukraine and Brazil.
Make no mistake – a lot of people were worried on June 23, when the sterling plummeted against the euro. Since then, the sterling has recovered from £1/€1.05 to £1/€1.15 and at the time of this writing is worth £1/€1.17. Not bad, this is still way less than what it was a year ago.
But the fall of the sterling hasn’t been so high to stop Britons from buying properties in Europe. It’s just a matter of planning better and having more realistic expectations about their budget.
Okay, so what’s the situation right now? Well, everything depends on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she would be signing it in 2017, which means it will take until 2019 till Britain actually leaves the EU. Until then, Britons will continue to enjoy the same privileges that are due to any EU citizen.
Prime Minister May has made it very clear that guaranteeing the legal status of British nationals living in other European countries and that of the EU nationals living in the UK is of the highest priority for the British government and would be an “early negotiating objective.”
This has been reassuring to many Britons looking to buy properties overseas in 2017 or over the next few months. There are many who want to relocate permanently to Spain, France or Portugal.
Britain’s love affair with France remains as strong as ever. Spain continues to attract British expats in huge numbers. Local agents report that the internet enquiries for properties in Spain from Britain have only increased after Brexit.
What’s more, there are a plenty of bargain properties available in Europe right now, so there’s never been a better time to buy a European property.
What after Brexit, after Britain actually leaves the European Union, around 2019? There isn’t likely to be any material difference in the status of British expats in Europe.
Britons will continue to live there, and buy and sell properties in the overseas market in Europe. So, really, there’s no reason to worry, we think!