Sales of houses worth over £10m tripled after sterling slumped following Brexit vote
“The mainstream property market saw transaction levels tail off considerably following the EU referendum vote,” said Samuels, who submitted the FoI request. “But at the very top end of the market activity levels soared as ultra-wealthy opportunist buyers cashed in on rapidly softening prices.
“The weakness of sterling means a fair percentage of these buyers were almost certainly based overseas, as some of Britain’s wealthiest cities became a goldmine for foreign investors seeking a bargain.
“While many homeowners sit on their hands during times of political and economic volatility, the ultra-wealthy often use these periods to acquire assets at a significant discount.”
Samuels said the fall in the pound, which has declined from $1.46 on 23 June 2016 to $1.26 on Wednesday, had “more than compensated” for the 3% second homes stamp duty surcharge the government introduced in 2016. The pound was worth $1.59 in June 2015.
Stamp duty on properties selling for more than £1.5m is 12%, rising to 15% for second homes. In the 2016-2017 tax year, stamp duty raised £7.3bn for the government – £3.4bn of it in London. The Treasury raised £4.1bn in stamp duty on second-home sales in the 2017-18 tax year, a 21% increase on the previous year.
Samuels said the highest levels of property spending had been in London. “Brexit had a particular impact on super-prime properties in the capital so for many very-high-net-worth individuals the fallout from the EU referendum vote was an investment opportunity,” he said.
Source: The Guardian, 2019