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Private rental growth 'not driven by foreign investors' says Countrywide

Countrywide says the rapid growth in the size of the private rental sector in recent years is not down to a surge of foreign investors, and insists the proportion of landlords from overseas has in fact halved since 2010.

The letting agency group claims the proportion of overseas-based landlords operating in Britain is now five per cent, down from 12 per cent in 2010.

London - described by some as a haven of foreign-owned buy to lets - actually saw the largest fall in the past seven years; 11 per cent of homes let this year are owned by overseas landlords, down from 26 per cent in 2010.  

However, although the proportion of foreign-based landlords letting property in prime central London has dropped from its 2010 figure of 31 per cent, the 2017 figure is still a hefty 23 per cent. 

The number of European based landlords has been gradually falling over time, more so than any other part of the world. In 2010 they made up 39 per cent of all overseas landlords in London, but now account for 28 per cent.  They were the biggest group of overseas investors in London until 2014, at which point Asia-based landlords took over. 

Asian-based landlords now constitute 33 per cent of the foreign-owned lettings stock, followed by Europeans (28 per cent), North Americans (10 per cent) and Middle Eastern (nine per cent).  Outside of London, Europeans remain the biggest group of overseas landlords. 

Outside London and the South East, fewer than five per cent of homes are let by an overseas landlord. Scotland, Wales and the Midlands have the lowest - three per cent.  

The average overseas based landlord received 35 per cent more in rent last year than one living in the UK - a whopping £5.4 billion, which constitutes 11 per cent of all the rent paid by all of the private tenants in Britain. 

In recent years overseas investors have seen faced increased fiscal measures including the additional property stamp duty surcharge, extra stamp duty on some means of purchase, and the annual tax on enveloped dwellings as well as the removal of capital gains tax exemptions. 

“A steady increase in foreign investors’ tax bills combined with more recent falling expectations of price growth in London has led to a decline in foreign investment in buy to let” insists Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.

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