They say an Englishman’s home is his castle, and it’s certainly true that we British take a keen interest in all aspects of property.
Just a glance at the papers and a scan of the TV schedules confirms that bricks and mortar are an important part of our daily lives.
1. Foreign investors welcomed
But it’s an interest that is shared the world over, and one of the main reasons that the UK is popular with overseas property investors is because of our open property laws.
Unlike so many other countries that place significant obstacles in the way of potential foreign investors, or in some cases an outright ban, the UK imposes no restrictions whatsoever.
Stamp Duty is the same regardless of where you’re from, all nationalities are free to own one or more UK properties, and most are eligible for investment loans if required.
2. Political and economic stability
And Britain’s essential political and economic stability has historically acted as a solid bedrock for investor security.
Yes, we’ve just had the controversial Brexit vote and an unexpectedly sudden change of Prime Minister, but, in the overall scheme of things, these are mere ripples.
Britain still sits at the top table of international affairs; it’s one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; it’s a founder member of NATO and it’s one of the G8 nations, who represent the most influential industrialised democracies in the world.
This key position in the global order offers significant market protection and investment security.
3. Transparent legal system
The UK also enjoys one of the most transparent legal systems in the world, which is reflected in our relatively straightforward property laws.
Unlike in so many other property markets, UK ownership laws are clear, property registration is easy, the tax structures are favourable and there’s no culture of corruption.
Professionals in the property sector, such as solicitors and surveyors, need a formal qualification and are regulated by officially recognised trade bodies, while estate agents are bound by the Estate Agents Act of 1979.
Any disputes between buyer, seller or agent are resolved by the independent and impartial Property Ombudsman.
4. World’s 4th largest property market
Despite its relatively small size, the UK represents the world’s 4th largest property market.
There are approximately 25 million homes and nearly two million non-residential properties eligible for business rates.
This offers property investors a very wide palette to choose from, however modest or substantial their budget.
International and domestic infrastructure links are excellent, so accessibility is never an issue.
5. Property prices double every decade
Property is profitable as well.
With a population of over 65 million, the UK is one of the most densely populated nations on the planet.
And the country’s size, along with its protected areas and green belt legislation, means that Britain is effectively running out of space.
As a result, UK property prices tend to double every decade.
We are going through a severe housing crisis, with a shortfall of one million homes forecast for 2025.
Understandably, demand is going through the roof; but with this unprecedented demand comes longer tenancy agreements and these in turn push up yields.
The long-term prospects for increased rental income and significant capital growth are excellent as things stand.
6. One of the world’s favourite tourist destinations
Then there’s the boom in tourism; the UK is one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations.
A total of 36 million people visited the UK in 2015 and spent £22 billion while they were here; figures up to the end of May 2016 were already showing an increase – before we’d even hit high season.
The locals like to explore other parts of the UK too; in the first quarter of 2016, 7.3 million Brits took a staycation – up by 10% on 2015 figures.
And where there are holidaymakers, there is demand for holiday accommodation.
7. Chronic shortage of specialist property
Higher education is an important part of Britain’s economy.
With around 130 universities providing first degree and postgraduate courses for nearly 2.5 million students, more overseas students come to the UK to study than anywhere else in the world apart from the United States.
The student population has been increasing steadily for decades, and even more so since the government’s removal of the cap on numbers.
The summer of 2016 saw an all-time record intake of students for the next academic year – the fourth consecutive year of record numbers.
However, there is a chronic shortage of purpose built Student Property.
In fact, 74% of students are unable to find a room in a proper student block.
This has inevitably led to unparalleled levels of demand, and the Student Property sector – the highest yielding on the market – is in the rudest of health.
8. Favourable exchange rates
Ever since the British electorate’s momentous decision to leave the EU, the pound has plummeted to a 30-year-low against the US dollar, and the exchange rate against the euro is less than favourable.
This directly impacts on all aspects of property investing, in most cases very much for the better – without the volatility of the currency and stock markets.
A trip to the UK has, overnight, become more affordable to countless millions of would-be visitors.
Airlines and UK tourist boards are reporting record bookings and enquiries – especially from the US and China.
Domestic interest is intense too; with the average foreign holiday for a family of four up by £245, it would appear that the staycation trend looks likely to be with us for quite some time to come.
The UK hospitality sector will be rubbing its hands at the prospects.
The weak pound also means that a British university degree will be more affordable for overseas students and leave a bit over for the better things in life – like a comfortable, modern, well appointed student apartment right on the university’s doorstep.
Meanwhile, for overseas investors, UK property – always a strong, lucrative and secure asset – now represents even better value than it has done for generations.
View our UK property investments.