Overseas property income ‘not being maximised’

If any fact could exemplify the difference between the savvy overseas buy-to-let property investor and the second homeowner who dabbles in renting, a newly published study may have provided it.

A survey of those who own second homes abroad by MRI Overseas Property has shown that 29 per cent of these visit their property no more than twice a year, yet at the same time only 15 per cent of such owners consider renting out these homes, thus meaning the majority miss out on a large source of potential income, not least as the average monthly rent for such homes is £800.

Head of holiday home property rentals at the firm, Olivia Mullan, said: “As the property market reaches maximum value levels in the UK, more and more British and Irish people are looking overseas to get a solid return on their investment and holiday homes can provide the perfect solution due to a constant demand for accommodation by British holidaymakers.”

This, of course, is an error that a clued-up buy-to-let investor is unlikely to make. While next year might not create the same desire to head for the sun as this year’s washout of a summer did, the demand is clearly well worth investing in.

MRI noted that 19 per cent of UK investors indicated they would seek to boost their income if interest rates at home reached six per cent. That consideration is likely to be irrelevant for the time being, given that the latest Reuters poll on the issue found 55 out of 60 tipping rates to stay put at 5.75 per cent when the Bank of England monetary policy committee meets this week, while the other five tipped a cut. But there may be many still sizing up the possibilities overseas.

Not everybody does, of course. Indeed, most don’t. Property firm Olive Tree International has announced it is asking why this is. After all, spokesman Richard Brady wondered, only four per cent of Britons buy overseas when polls show 40 per cent have considered it.

Extolling the benefits of the overseas property market, Mr Brady told Fly to Let: “Buyers looking to invest abroad are often daunted by the wide choice, particularly as the world has opened up so rapidly in the last five years.”

However, he noted, many were put off by negative stories in the media. Yet, he said, there was just one key element in making an overseas purchase: “Buying abroad is not difficult. Actually it is very similar to buying in the UK. All you need to do is find an agent whom you can trust.”

The importance of having such a reliable agent, specifically one without a vested interest in favour of the developer selling the property, is critical, Mr Brady stated. Of course, experienced buy-to-let investors will know all this and some may even know enough not to need so much help. But that may not be the case for a new investor.

For those who do get the right agent and make the right purchase, the potential is out there. The key then is not to be part of that 85 per cent who own a home overseas yet never capitalise on its rental worth.