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In short the answer is likely to be yes for those investors dealing in currencies that have strengthened against the pound.
According to figures published by The Financial Times, as at 10:02am on 5 July sterling has fallen to US$1.3113, a figure well below the levels seen in the run-up to the referendum, when at one point it stood at US$1.50.
While currency fluctuations are likely to continue in the days and weeks ahead, some commentators are already suggesting that the changes to exchange rates will provide an additional incentive for overseas buyers wanting to acquire property in the UK. This is because membership of the EU is only one of many reasons why overseas buyers look to invest in property here. Notwithstanding the immediate political uncertainty, the jurisdiction's image as a safe haven will endure in the longer term and the underlying law relating to property sales and lettings will not fundamentally change. In addition there is continued interest in property assets let to secure covenants for lease terms extending beyond the likely current uncertainty.
At the moment it is too early to discern any particular trends – some deals have been put on hold whilst key players take stock of the changing market but others are pressing firmly ahead. Where deals have been placed on hold, this has not necessarily been due to investor sentiment but more usually because the banks have not made a decision about lending, so the facility terms are uncertain. Indeed in this context Singapore Bank UOB announced on Thursday 30 June that it has suspended loans on UK property deals. Another interesting development is that some overseas sellers have been increasing their sale prices to compensate for the fall in sterling.
Nichola West, partner in Dentons' Real Estate practice, has commented: "whilst we have seen some pauses in the lending market, as lenders take stock, there remains a strong demand from overseas investors with cash. As ever, any uncertainty can lead to opportunities and as in the case of the downturn post Lehmans, we expect to see continuing demand from cash-rich overseas investors."
Law stated as at 5 July 2016
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