Brexit: Queries from London property investors keep consultants busy

Apartment buildings are backdropped by skyscrapers of banks at Canary Wharf in London, on Oct 30, 2015.
Apartment buildings are backdropped by skyscrapers of banks at Canary Wharf in London, on Oct 30, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - In the aftermath of Friday's Brexit vote, property consultants have been busy with many calls from clients. Some call as they wish to sell their properties on Britain, while others are looking to buy more.

Mrs Doris Tan, regional director of London real estate firm Strawberry Star Group, said she has received over 10 calls from each camp.

"Those who look to sell don't believe in the UK market any more after its exit from the European Union. But we will help them to sell, no problem, as London property is evergreen and there are always buyers."

These high-net worth clients will then see where else to park their funds. Other English-speaking countries good for investing in, other than Singapore, are Australia and Canada, noted Mrs Tan.

"The other group of people who call want to buy more as prices have come down in terms of currency," she added.

Similarly, Mr Richard Levene, Colliers International's director for international properties, has already received several emails from investors looking for buying opportunities.

"I see an advantage for buyers from Asia. As long as it's the right product, people will still buy to take advantage of the currency - they could make as much as 20 to 25 per cent on the currency over the next few years."

As for people wondering whether to buy or hold, Mr Levene advises holding as the market will come back. "London has a shortage of homes, and when you panic sell, you lose money. It's better to wait for the market to restore itself."

But the majority who have invested in British property are pretty calm, said Mr Dave Loo, founder and managing director of SQFT Global Properties. It will be holding an information session on the post-referendum London market later this week.

'Their holding power is strong and they will further observe the market," he added.

The next three months are expected to be pretty quiet with not many new launches. "From my talks with London developers, it will be status quo up till after the summer holidays and busy again in September to December," said Mrs Tan. There are typically not many launches during this period.

"There's no panic, just that people are reviewing the situation," she added.

Mr Jimson Cheng, 56, who has a two-bedroom unit in London, said he has no intentions to sell. "I will re-form my view of the market..and in the meantime, continue accumulating pounds at a lower cost."

Mr Shaun Lee, 46, who sold his two-bedroom unit in London in May, is looking to buy.

"It is likely there will be opportunities now as people might exit the market due to uncertainty..I've been looking at rightmove.co.uk and intend to monitor UK property websites. There will always be demand for housing in London as it's a Tier One city."

wrennie@sph.com.sg