Offshore bankers Skipton International have reported a sharp increase in expat investment in UK buy-to-let property, particularly among Brits living and working in the UAE.
Jim Coupe, Managing Director of the bank said: "We've had interest from all over the world but particularly the UAE. Our customers are showing they are making the most of the buy-to-let opportunity and with many now viewing the London property market as overheated, demand is set to increase for properties in other areas of the UK where rental yields are looking far more attractive for buy-to-let investors".
Investors started to look beyond London's property markets towards the middle of last year, cautious of putting capital into a rapidly overheating sector. Regional cities particularly in the north of England saw considerable rental growth in Q1 2015 which combined with lower base costs for property presents greater margin opportunities for investors.
According to research from British property management agency Homelet, UK rental prices for the first quarter of this year increased 10%, with regions outstripping London on growth.
British Expats working in the UAE are very well-placed to take advantage of growth in the UK's regional rental market, mainly because of substantial and tax-free incomes. Expats in the US or earning in a currency pegged to the dollar as in UAE, Hong Kong, the Caribbean among others, are also enjoying improved purchasing power. Expat investors see the UK as a dynamic investment market that represents a safe bet.
Mr Coupe added: "The buy-to-let sector has certainly outperformed the FTSE by some degree since the millennium. Many expats are looking for long-term investments for which property is a potentially suitable option and will often utilise their own knowledge of a particular geographic area of the UK in which to select properties that represent good value and desirability to their target market of tenants".
It goes to show that even among international property investors, home is where the heart is!