Moving Back to the UK Because of Brexit

Hundreds of British expats are returning to the UK because of uncertainties caused by Brexit. When Theresa May triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017, it led to tremendous uneasiness amongst British nationals living in Spain, France and other major European countries and as 29 March 2019 – Brexit day draws ever closer, the number of 'Brexpats' (as the press has labelled them) returning home to the UK is like to soar because none of their original fears have been allayed and are continuing to cause great concern about the legal position of British people domiciled in other EU countries – a similar concern to the one felt by the thousands of EU nationals currently living in the Britain. 

Brits Living in the UK and EU

Data from Movehub clearly shows that high numbers of Brits living in all the key Euro countries are making the move back to the UK. Many have been concerned about their legal position once the UK leaves the EU and also what health coverage they will be entitled to once Britain is no longer a member of the EU. Already the weakening pound is having an effect as British pensioners living in Spain and France struggle as the cost of living for them has increased because they have lost more than £100 a month of the value of their UK pension. Another blow to the retired British residents living in Spain is that the Spanish Government is now charging a portion of medicine costs. Unfortunately, as yet, the British Government has not been able to give any assurances for their future as it all depends on negotiations between Brussels and London in the months to come.

In the last year alone, the number of British people living in Spain but deciding to return to the UK has increased by 108% and the figure for Germany stands at 157%.  The number of British people now resident in Spain has dropped by 157,107 people in the two years since Article 50 was triggered. According to the National Statistics Institute in Spain, the number of British residents has dropped in the last five years from 397,892 to 244,785. The number of Brits moving to Spain has always been about 88,700 annually but since the vote for Brexit, this trend has completely reversed and the number now leaving Spain outweighs the number arriving. 

For many, the decision to return to the UK has not been made lightly as selling property abroad is not always a speedy process – in rural France, for example, local estate agents warn house owners to allow two-three years for the sale of their property. Those who want to speed up the process can do so, but this is only achieved by dramatically reducing the selling price. A major concern for 'Brexpats' is being able to afford somewhere suitable to live in the UK, as for many, this was one of the key reasons for moving abroad – property prices in popular European countries such as Spain, France and Italy are much lower.

Having made the decision to uproot and return the UK, there are more problems to address. The first is how to successfully view potential properties from a distance of a 1,000 miles plus. Whilst some buyers have the time – and the money – to regularly jump on a flights back to see various properties, for many others, this is easier said than done. Luckily there is a very good solution to this problem.

Selling Quickly with Brexit Looming

Sawyers Estates is situated in Worthing and is one of the new generation of estate agents that is offering house buyers the opportunity to take a '360º virtual tour' of prospective properties. Whilst this may sound a bit like a gimmick, the concept is already proving popular with prospective buyers who are based overseas as they are able to go on a 'virtal viewing' of any property they are interested in – at a time to suit them and without moving out of their armchair!

360º virtual property tours use the latest technology to enhance and accelerate viewings for both the selling and rental sectors. For 'Brexpats' living abroad this is making house viewings so much easier as the virtual viewing is comprehensive yet can be undertaken at 

a time that is convenient as the virtual tours are available 24x7. The quality of the 360º virtual tour is so good that it is a totally submersive experience and buyers really do feel that they are walking around their chosen property. The virtual tours have the following features -

  • They give a complete over view of the property, its setting.
  • Viewers are taken into each room in turn and can see the layout and decoration of each.
  • A comprehensive plan is given which gives the sizes of each room and the layout of the property.
  • The 360º virtual tour is easy to navigate and can be seen either on a smartphone or tablet.
  • There is also a ‘dolls house’ feature which allows the entire home to be viewed at once to see just how rooms connect to eachother.

360 degree tours are likely to become ‘the norm’ in the near future once other estate agents appreciate the significant benefits to buyers, especially those overseas. In the meantime it may just be that Worthing will welcome more Brexpats than expected simply because of this ingenious viewing solution.

Permission for this article kindly provided by Chris Stevens.

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