Nov. 17, 2022
From sky-high mortgage rates to inflation, now might be the worst time to buy a new home in the US. But in the UK, it’s a different story. Affluent Americans stand a much better shot at getting their hands on a piece of prime real estate if they buy in Britain—that is, if they pay in dollars instead of pounds.
“Buyers from the US are making up a large part of the market, especially at the very top end,” London-based real estate broker Charles McDowell of Charles McDowell Properties told Bloomberg. Some of the broker’s recent sales include a £25 million ($29.4 million) home and another valued at £50 million ($59 million). The sellers were British, and the buyers, American.
“Activity is primarily focused in the £5 million or more market, where the exchange rate savings really start to count,” adds Richard Gutteridge, co-head of Savills Sloane Street. The pound, which plummeted to an all-time low in September, has afforded the ultra-wealthy an opportunity to score big on multi-million-dollar properties at a discount. For some, it’s a great time to expand their real estate portfolio and for others, it’s clear that the savings alone are enough reason to cross the pond.
One couple in Texas told Bloomberg that this favorable circumstance allowed them to cash in on a two-bedroom near Notting Hill where they plan to retire and live full-time. For those inclined to wait, there could be even steeper savings ahead if British housing prices drop within the next year.
Luxury homebuying in Central London has surged in direct response to the sinking pound as more US citizens head abroad to take advantage of the exchange rate. According to data by Knight Frank, in the first half of 2022, Americans accounted for 14.5 percent of all overseas prime London property purchases. For context, that’s a 6.2 percent increase in just the last six months. Nest Seekers also reported a spike in US investors and saw a whopping 50 percent rise in inquiries. High-priced neighborhoods such as Holland Park, Notting Hill and Chelsea have seen the most interest from well-heeled buyers looking for prime properties.