Brexit Overseas Property Certainty

5th April 2019

We've had some frank and honest conversations with several private and corporate clients surrounding ongoing uncertainty around Brexit's role on overseas property. What was once a safe and sound bet - whether for personal use or investment - buying and owning property overseas has reached uncertain times, which brings risk and worry for those invested in homes on foreign soil.


The UK's departure from the EU has left many fearing they'll be left in financial and legal limbo with their property post-Brexit. Thousands of British expats are reported to have returned home amid fears of a no-deal Brexit scenario, which has already caused the pound to fall against the euro, reducing their savings.

With so much uncertainty, the media has run wild with a tug-of-war between leave / remain, which will become a milestone in British politics, too. This constant back and forth is thought to have triggered movement in Spain, with around 5,000 Brits living in Benidorm before the 2007 financial crisis - but that number fell to 2,825 last year. In the same period, nearly 5,000 left Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca.

What does it mean?

There appears to be two main factors, which are contributing to owners' worries and reasoning for selling their properties:


Leaving the EU could see the end of tax perks when it comes to the renting or selling overseas property. EU home owners in France pay only 19pc on gains from renting or selling their properties, while non-EU home owners face a capital gains tax of up to 49pc.

However, in the event that the UK government successfully negotiates to remain part of the single market, these tax perks may well be unaffected.


Low mortgage rates in Europe, combined with cheap housing and strong UK currency have helped the recent overseas property boom. However, leaving the EU could potentially impact people looking for a new overseas mortgage (as well as increase their UK mortgage) - or at least force them to pay a much higher rate. For example, French mortgage rates rise from 20pc for EU citizens to 50pc for non-EU citizens, because those outside the EU are traditionally seen as riskier borrowers.

However, as many banks already lend between our countries, it remains to be seen whether an official Brexit leads them to consider people in the UK a higher risk.

As it stands, the uncertainty around owning overseas property will become clearer the sooner a decision is made regarding a deal or not. If a deal isn't agreed, individual nations will likely implement their own regulations and rules around tax and mortgages. Therefore, it's difficult to predict the exact outcome but it is hoped little will change and Brits can continue to enjoy the benefits of owning property overseas.

Written by: Sam Wood
Sam is a key member of WhitesPay’s Account Management team. He joined the business 2013 and has a proven track-record for assisting our import clients and their cross-border payments.

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