Brexit has been accepted in the housing industry says Oliver Ramsden, the Director of Aspen Woolf, a company that specialises in providing wealth-building opportunities for investors through property.
“People, especially investors, already knew that Article 50 would be triggered in March. They also knew we would look to exit the EU back in 2016. This said, we don’t think the actualisation of this news will make much of a difference,” Ramsden tells Pound Sterling Live.
“The punch was already placed in 2016, now the government is just following through,” says Ramsden.
The company have had to think long and hard about how they develop if the markets show signs of stagnation, but despite a worrying first few months, there has been no signs materialise.
Still, the final decision for Aspen Woolf has been to invest and diversify the business.
Ramsden tells PoundSterlingLive.com:
“We spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to cope with an economic slow down last year. We’re branching out with our product offering as the year goes on.
“This will include more offerings in Dubai and in the United States. There will definitely still be demand here in the UK, but we want to make sure that the product we offer domestically will have a competitive edge over what else might be currently available.”
It was a decision brought on after watching his investors carefully.
He says, “We see our domestic investors weening off of international investments, but we see our international investors eyeing up UK property a bit more.
“We already saw this in 2016 so we expect it to continue throughout this year as well. The most astute domestic investors will look to keep their investments local instead of venturing internationally.”
Ramsden puts down to the recent moves in the exchange rates.
“One thing that will probably be making a difference now more than ever for international property purchases is a good currency brokerage. You want to make sure whatever money you have is going as far as it can go,” says Ramsden.
That said, there is opportunity for international stakeholders:
“All of a sudden property prices are 15-20% less than they were a year ago, thanks to exchange rates.
“Most international investors weren’t investing in UK property because it was in the UK, but rather because of the innate demand and supply. Not to mention the student side of things as well."
Aspen believe the decision to leave the UK won’t take away from the demand for property in the UK, and a bigger percentage of students travel from outside the EU than they do from within it.
Looking outside of the EU is now taking a priority as a lack of supply in the UK becomes apparent.
Ramsden explains, “Supply is becoming one of our biggest challenges here in Great Britain. There really isn’t much out there, especially in regards to the UK. Even we, an experienced agent with connections to countless developers, aren’t seeing the stock out there.
“Some stock we will immediately turn down as they simply don’t pass our due diligence, which of course limits what is available even more. Overall we would say coming up with good stock (i.e. developments) in genuinely good areas is becoming increasingly difficult.”
Instead, expansion in to the Middle East and the profitable US are very much a focus for 2017.
He says, “We have an office based in Dubai sourcing property investments for clients looking to invest in the Middle-East.
“As well as this we’re opening an office in New York later in 2017 that will better cater our clients looking to branch out into the US.”
Despite waves caused by the new US President, Ramsden feels that investing in a country where Property is King is the next step to take.
He says, “We would like to say that that is the case, seeing as Trump comes from a real estate background, but to be honest this is something so far out of our control that we can only sit back and take things as and when they come.”
“We’ll also be looking to offer other properties available in Europe and possibly opening an office in Hong Kong. However, if we’ve learned anything it is that it’s better to take things slow and do it right, rather than rush into things. We always want to make sure whatever it is we do, it’s always in our client’s interest.”