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Youngsters go global in quest for UK housing

I’ve read a lot recently about first-time buyers having to relocate hundreds of miles to other parts of the country to beat Stamp Duty.

Only by moving – mostly from south to north – will they find a home that fits their price range and avoids this extra burden.

But a quarter of young potential buyers are considering more drastic relocations.

According to recent research, one in four young people would be prepared to move overseas to save money – enough money for a deposit for their first UK home.

This is a pretty worrying finding and is published in National Savings & Investments’ latest quarterly savings survey.

And the young Brits who say they would move overseas in an attempt to get on the UK property ladder are not planning a quick hop across the Channel to France either.

No, some are thinking of moving to the other side of the world – to Australia and New Zealand.

Their idea is that they can live more cheaply there and save enough money to buy back in this country.

It sounds like a grand plan – a couple of years down under earning pots of money and paying little in rent, food and energy bills.

But I can’t imagine many of our bright young things wanting to quit the beaches and the sunshine with their loot after one year just to tie themselves down to a UK mortgage for ever more.

Indeed, the NS&I survey found that Spain was the most popular intended destination for these intrepid deposit-hunters, followed by Australia and New Zealand, then the US and Eastern Europe.

So on one hand, we see that thousands of bright young Eastern and Central Europeans are heading to this country to earn relatively high wages they can take back to their homelands – possibly to buy properties.

Meanwhile, our leaders of the future are making the reverse trip to cut their spending so they can afford our outrageous property prices.

What happens if nobody comes back from these deposit-gathering trips? Surely a high proportion of those who decide to move – rather than just considering it for the sake of a survey – will end up settling down in their adopted countries.

Britain used to live in fear of a so-called brain drain – young professionals moving abroad to get better salaries.

Now we need to worry about a first-time buyer drain – because it is the first-timers who prop up the whole sorry UK property market.

With fewer first-timers, de-mand will drop and so will prices.

While this might help young buyers it won’t go down too well with lenders, brokers, owners, insurers or pretty much anyone else involved – including the chancellor and his beloved Stamp Duty.


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