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Slump in Brits buying homes in Europe

Britons buying homes abroad have fallen by a quarter compared to a year ago since the EU referendum said Moneycorp’s chief executive Mark Horgan in an interview with Reuters news agency.

Brits buying homes slumps THE NUMBER of Britons buying homes abroad has slumped since June’s vote to leave the European Union and there are signs that thousands of families will react to the fall in the value of sterling by holidaying at home next summer.

Mark Horgan, chief executive of Moneycorp, which runs airport exchange booths and consumer and corporate money transfer services, said foreign house purchases had fallen by a quarter compared to a year ago.

He said there had also been a surge in sales of houses in Europe due to uncertainty over what rights UK citizens will have there in future and fear that the pound, down roughly 20 percent in the last year, could weaken further.

With more than 40,000 clients, Moneycorp says it has more than 10 percent of the market in transferring funds for British people buying properties abroad, who now number an estimated 380,000 separate investors.

“There has definitely been a big trend back in from euro to sterling,” Horgan told Reuters. “For us that is bad news because it probably means its people selling up and exiting the market.

“New completions are off by about a quarter year on year. You can understand why that would be the case. You clearly have hesitancy from Brits who are unsure of their status after Brexit. The question is whether those are lost purchases or delayed purchases.”

The volatility in currency markets since the Brexit vote has driven Moneycorp’s overall volumes 55 percent higher since July 1. But private client transfers from pounds to euros, are down 30 percent, while transfers from euros back to the UK are up 80 percent.

Horgan, who runs the currency sales desks at two of London’s big package-holiday heavy airports, Gatwick and Stansted, said that he had seen signs of possible falls in passenger volumes next year.

Europe’s biggest airline, Ryanair, said in the aftermath of June’s vote to leave the EU that it would fly 2 million fewer seats from a total planned 23 million from Britain next year, cutting 600,000 seats from a planned 9 million at Stansted this winter.

Rival airline easyJet, facing the fallout of Brexit both for consumers and its own corporate infrastructure, reported a 28 percent drop this week in annual pretax profit, its first decline since 2009.

Both Gatwick and Stansted say they expect the robust growth of recent years to continue, while admitting that they are watching the impact of Brexit on UK holidaymakers closely.

“We are quite clearly seeing that staycations are likely to be on the rise in 2017,” Horgan said. “There has been a slowdown in growth in recent months.”

(Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Jamie McGeever and Robin Pomeroy)

Readers' comments

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  • Bendybunny says:

    Of course blame the referendum nothing to do with the corrupt way that sales have been carried out since 2006 where thousands of British buyers still wait to take banks such as the Alpha Bank to court. Everyone now in the U.K. is aware of this could this not be the real reason.

    We purchased there because we loved the island only to be ‘conned’ by developers, solicitors (purporting to be independent) and financial institutions only wanting to grab the cash irrespective of the outcome for the island.

  • Peter Davis says:

    My developer was all sweetness and light when we were buying. But after being in the house for six months we had a few snags (he didn’t like the word ‘defects’) which he refused to fix because he said in my letter “I didn’t ask him nicely” I had no idea what that mean it was just a list, and added ‘and I had such respect for you’.

    When I went to see him in his office to find out what was the problem he came up with list after list of British customers who had bought from him who he’d ‘screwed’ much more information than I really needed or wanted to know, adding as I left “And one said he’d put me out of business but I’m still here”. He was really proud of his achievements.

    Well he’s not there now, the word has got around. Treat your customers like this and you don’t last long. The British like to share their experiences both good and bad.

  • Richard says:

    No surprise really. I’d actually have thought though – that the slack would have taken up by people wanting to park money into Europe from elsewhere.

    Staycation will probably last as long as two rainy British summers – there is nothing as long as a fortnight’s vacation in the Lake District with two whining teenagers to amuse…?

  • Costas a fortune says:

    It’s no wonder Brits are losing faith in places such as Cyprus. When will the authorities realise you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you? With the amount of distrust in Cypriot banks, lawyers, developers etc when are the authorities going to start helping the British people that have been involved in property scams on this once loved island of Cyprus. People would be mad to invest hard earned money on this island.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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