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What does the EU referendum result mean for those investing in overseas property?

For the 2.2 million UK nationals living in the European Union (EU), the recent referendum result of a Brexit raises a number of questions as to what the future may hold. For sure, this will have some impact on their ability to move freely among EU countries, but what will this mean for those with property overseas? Will property inheritance and tax laws change? Will UK citizens lose their right to work? And will mortgages be affected?
 
With the appointment of Theresa May as prime minister, there is now a little more certainty as to the route the UK will take. Initially, many British expats feared the worst in light of the result, but with panic now calmed we can take a look at the possible outcomes.
 
One thing that is on the side of those living, working and with property in the EU, is time. While the UK negotiates the terms of its withdrawal from the EU under Article 50, there will be little change as the UK will remain part of the EU during this period. But this timeframe is based on everything going to plan and there is a high chance that talks will be complicated and take longer than expected, providing more than enough time for property investors to assess their options and make an informed decision. 
 
EU residency
 
When it comes to residency, it is realistic that British buyers would no longer be treated as EU citizens, with other investors from EU countries being favoured. However, there will be negotiations between the UK government and the EU to hopefully establish agreements with major countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, to ensure things don’t change for UK property investors.
 
Pre-Brexit, if you had lived in the EU for over five years, you would be able to apply for long-term residency by EU law. However, post-Brexit there may be further questions and rules regarding long-term residency.
 
Possibilities for those living abroad could include filing tax returns, taking driving tests in the country of residence and restrictions on the types of jobs expats can work in. This however, remains uncertain until negotiations and deals are confirmed.
 
Overseas property
 
As it stands, British citizens are the biggest buyers of overseas property in Europe, with over one million owning holiday homes here. Post-Brexit, there is a good chance that those who do own property in the EU, will be able to continue to do so. On the other hand, while the pound remains weak, UK expats may grab the opportunity to enter the British property market.
 
UK citizens are now able to own property in any EU nation, with the same rights as the locals. There is not much reason for this to alter following the referendum result, but there could be changes regarding property inheritance and taxation laws. In addition, getting a mortgage to purchase a home in the EU could also prove difficult, with the majority of banks less likely to lend to non-EU citizens, requiring a larger deposit.
 
For those with property overseas but live in the UK, leaving the EU could require British citizens to apply for a visa in order to visit the country where their property is based. Holiday home owners and property investors may also be faced with more intrusive questions relating to how long they’re intending to stay in the country, income and health cover.
 
Businesses in the EU
 
The UK relies largely on trading from the EU, and in turn, the EU relies on work from the UK, so when it comes to overseas business, we can rest assured that they will not be brought to a finish. After all, business is business. Yet realistically, companies will feel effects from the Brexit decision, whether these be positive or negative.
 
Working in the EU may become more difficult if host countries ask British citizens to comply with additional rules and regulations that may be more restrictive when it comes to permits and setting up businesses. If workers lose their automatic right to work with countries in the EU, they could be asked to apply for Blue Cards.
 
Previous to the Brexit, international companies investing and headquartered in the UK warned that Britain would become a less attractive place to be based, potentially meaning that less business will now come to the UK and offer work to nationals.
 

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