The UK economy is slowing, Brexit has split the country, the pound is plunging and Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister. Who would want to buy a property in a country like this?
Answer: you might.
For many UAE residents, now could be a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity, especially if you have always dreamed of a bolthole in London but been scared away by the sky-high prices.
House prices fell 4.4 per cent in London in the year to May, the largest drop since August 2009 when they fell 7 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics, and with transaction levels also well down you might be able to negotiate a further discount.
If you fancy snapping up a London property, however, there are some things you need to know.
First, London isn’t exactly cheap, despite recent slippage. Second, you will face a hefty stamp duty bill, including a 3 per cent surcharge for overseas buyers, investors and second homeowners, which would total £30,000 on a £500,000 property.
Third, you need a decent deposit. Alina Yarovaya, marketing manager at Enness, a UK mortgage brokerage for high net worth clients, says UAE expats and locals typically need a minimum 25 per cent deposit to secure a mortgage. “If you can do that mortgage rates range from 2 per cent to 5 per cent, depending on your personal profile.”
You then need to sort out your mortgage finance; your choices include UAE banks such as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, international banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and NatWest International or UK-based lenders such as building societies Ipswich, Kent Reliance, Market Harborough and Skipton International, who all offer expat mortgages, as well as Islamic lenders such as Gatehouse Bank.