Britain voting to leave the European Union — Brexit — caused the pound to crash to 30-year lows, forced the Bank of England to lower rates to record lows of 0.25%, and, in turn, is making UK property seriously attractive to investors.
That’s according to one of the world’s most famous hedge fund managers, Stuart Fiertze, the cofounder, president, and director of research at Cheyne Capital Management. The London-headquartered hedge fund has $7 billion under management, according to the Financial Times.
Speaking at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York, Fiertze said that Brexit may have caused concern for economists and investors, but actually the market uncertainty has fostered an attractive environment for investors in UK property.
“We like real estate, and real estate lending. The QE [quantitative easing] is driving investors into real estate to get some kind of yield so despite Brexit, UK property prices have held up — both for foreign and domestic buyers,” said Fiertze at the event.
“We think there is enough stability out there and enough niches in the market or enough segments in the market where banks are being told stay out. We like real estate because it’s cheap to put a bit of debt on a building. You can take advantage of those low rates… so you can lock in a fairly attractive lightly leveraged yield.”
Britons voted to leave the EU on June 23 and a whole slew of market fallout occurred. The pound sank to 30-year lows and has remained around the $1.3 mark against the US dollar ever since. The BOE’s governor Mark Carney took the pre-emptive step of easing money lending by cutting interest rates to 0.25% as a result. Rates were on the cusp of being hiked before the referendum on June 23, having been at 0.5% since March 2009.
However, this is all causing a bright spot for the UK property investors. The weaker the pound against the US dollar, the cheaper property looks if you deal in dollars. Low-interest rates also mean borrowing is extremely cheap.
“I think foreign buyers are saying at the moment that Brexit helps as it is cheaper [to buy UK property] in their money [after the fall in sterling],” said Fergus Wilson in an interview with The Financial Times.
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