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How will Brexit impact overseas property owners and buyers in 2020?

It’s been a fiercely contested set of campaigns, which have at times resembled something more akin to a children’s playground argument than it has a debate about Brexit impact on overseas property owners and buyers, which will impact on the future of British citizens.

However, as the UK left the EU, questions of what will happen to British people who own a home in another EU member state after Brexit are yet to be answered. Our currency experts have gathered relevant information to consider when talking about Brexit impact on overseas property owners. So whether you own a holiday home in the EU, overseas property or are simply thinking about investing on a property after Brexit, here is what you should know about Brexit impact on overseas property owners.

Britain flag and EU flag painted on a paper house hanging on a rope, symbolising Brexit impact on overseas property.

What will happen to overseas property owners after Brexit?

In multiple campaigns which have been, frustratingly, dominated by scaremongering tactics on both sides, immigration has been one of the major topics of discussion.

There has been talk, lots of it in fact, that a Brexit vote could lead to second homes owned by Brits in European countries being seized by governments.

European union and Great Britain flags on cardboard pieces symbolising the impact of Brexit on overseas property

The reality, though, is that all those who own a property legally in another EU country are protected by both the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights which means individual property rights must be respected.

Additionally, it must be noted that the UK has 3 major agreements with 31 countries in the EU, which accept freedom of movement. These agreements provide protection for British people moving to Europe until the duration of the transition period.

How will Brexit affect property owners?

This isn’t to say, though, that governments of some EU countries won’t find other ways to harm British owners (depending, of course, on how angry they feel about a Brexit). Property taxes for British (or non-EU) owners could be increased and current deals that offer things like leaseback guarantees on investment properties could also be a thing of the past.

Close up of home model, money and house keys. Overseas property owners concept.

It’s also not a complete impossibility that British nationals could suddenly find themselves in need of a special visa allowing them to visit their property for more than a certain period of each year.

Currently, the EU freedom of movement pact allows British citizens to visit their property as often, and for as long, as they like. As non-EU residents, however, the amount of time they may be allowed to stay in the country could be limited. Therefore, the months spent enjoying some winter sun in southern Spain could be coming to an end.


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What is Brexit impact on overseas property buyers?

Likewise, those who are yet to buy a property in the EU, but dream of one day doing so, could even need a special investment visa just to be allowed to do so. While this may seem an unlikely step, it is one that some EU governments already place on other non-EU nationals who wish to buy a property in their country. Why would it be any different for British purchasers now that the UK no longer belongs to the EU?

Housing security safety mortgage finances saving concept. People exchanging house keys. Two humans on floor next to home symbol passing key ring.

The initial purchase of a property in somewhere like Spain of France could also suddenly become a lot more costly.

Not only will Brexit almost certainly lead to increased stamp duties for British buyers (at least in some EU countries, if not all), but the decision to leave will also and is currently having a major impact on the foreign exchange markets. Mortgage availability could become more limited.

Moreover, investors would likely find themselves suddenly receiving far, far fewer Euros for their Pounds, so anyone needing to make a purchase in the European currency will be adversely affected.

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Of course, even though the UK left the EU on January 31st 2020, this is only the first stage in what will be months and months of negotiations during the transition period, during which all implications of what will happen to British second homeowners in the EU (and indeed those who intend to buy a home in the Union in the future) will be discussed at length.

The truth is that no one knows exactly what will happen in future Brexit developments. But the chances are that British second home ownership in other EU countries may not be as readily achievable as it once was.

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