The Long Road Home
13 August 2014
England could not have put on a more glorious summer. All memories of grey skies and wet days were replaced by on-tap sunshine and smiling faces. Almost enough to entice one to think about planning for a return home.
For many expats, though, the adventure and opportunities offered from living and working abroad far outweigh the downsides of leaving the UK. Once ensconced in the expat life it is easy for two years to drift into five. Chances are, that although it may end up being ten years, ultimately most expats do have the intention of returning to Blighty at some point in the future.
Putting it on hold can sometimes be easier than the sheer headache of working out how to squeeze a growing family into a flat that was lived in pre-children. Throw in schooling and the need for a reasonable commute into the equation and finding a home can be a daunting prospect.
In my new role as the Asia consultant for UK buying agent Savills Prime Purchase, I spent time with the team when I was over for the summer. Yes, the UK property market has suffered some bumps and scrapes along the way but all the hype in the media about a property bubble seemed to be just that. London’s international property market has helped drive the UK’s economic recovery and the effects are now trickling down to the country as London buyers take advantage of the value gap. Areas easily commutable to the city are doing particularly well as is the desire to live in thriving towns and cities other than London.
The market is now adjusting to a slower pace of value increase. But note that it is a slower pace and not a receding one. Once the election is over, predictions from Savills are that values will increase by 22.7% in 2018. This figure applies to both London and the prime regional areas of the country.
The message that I brought back with me though is that if you are planning to buy a property at some point it is all about buying the “best in class”, regardless of whether it is an investment opportunity or a future home. These properties always weather the storms of fluctuating markets and interestingly UK residential properties have outperformed other investments over the years.