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This is how sterling's unstoppable slide will affect UK house prices

Helen Cahill
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London's most luxury pads might get some more interest from international buyers

After a freak six per cent fall when markets opened in Asia last week, sterling is in free fall.

The fall obviously has implications for people going abroad - but what about people here at home? We asked the experts what the flash crash will do to UK house prices.

Read more: This is how the sterling flash crash will affect UK house prices

Nicholas Finn, executive director of Garrington Property Finders said an Australian buyer who had been hesitating on a high-end apartment in London sealed the deal after seeing the pound plunge overnight.

"No-one ever buys a property based on exchange rate alone, but for many astute foreign buyers the pound’s abrupt fall this week may prove a tipping point," Finn said.

"Demand for prime central London property slumped in the wake of the increase in stamp duty on the most expensive homes. But for overseas buyers, sterling’s weakness has now levelled the playing field - and neutralised the additional stamp duty costs."

Rob Weaver, director of investments at property crowdfunding platform Property Partner, said sterling's slide could hit buyers from the UK.

Weaver said:

A surge in overseas investment could have a detrimental impact on domestic buyers, particularly in Manchester and Leeds, which are still good value and provide above-average yields.

"It makes any further interest rate cut by the Bank of England at least this year look more unlikely, which may slightly weigh down the housing market," said Howard Archer, chief UK economist for IHS Markit. "But any further interest rate cut would be slight, so mortgage rates would not have fallen much and non-tracker ones may not have fallen at all.

"Of course, if sterling falls sharply further and quickly, the Bank of England would even have to contemplate raising interest rates to provide some support - but I do not think we are anywhere near that point."

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Ben Madden, managing director of London estate agents Thorgills said foreign buyers are "keeping their powder dry" because sterling may fall even further.

"There's also still a great sense of uncertainty in the British housing market post-Brexit and many foreign investor may be playing a wait and see game rather than rushing in," Madden said.

"There's a window of opportunity for overseas buyers...but it might make better sense for them to hold out for a few more months, or at least until next March, when properties may just become even cheaper for them thanks to the weak pound."

Read more: House prices under threat in Tower Hamlets due to rapid building and Brexit

Rory Penn, managing director of prime London property agency VanHan, said: We have seen a sharp increase in interest from buyers who hold their money in US dollars, predominantly from the US, South America and Europe, looking to take advantage of the favourable currency exchange rate, and we have closed a number of these transactions.

"Coupled with the general softening of the market, these international buyers are now looking at much more attractive prices than they were before June.”

House prices after Brexit: a short history

  1. In June, RICS predicted house prices would drop for the first time since 2012
  2. Rightmove report house prices fell by 0.2 per cent in June
  3. Brexit vote, everyone wants to know what will happen to house prices, so we asked the experts
  4. FTSE 100-listed housebuilder shares take a tumble
  5. Data from Halifax shows house prices fell after the Brexit vote
  6. Mortgage approvals fell to an 18-month low in July
  7. Nationwide reports house prices went up again in August
  8. Rightmove reports house prices rebounded in September after the Brexit vote

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