Last fall, Inman reported that annual growth in realtor.com’s international listing views from potential buyers in the U.K. “dropped sharply in July, the month after Brexit.” And the downward trend continued in August.

  • "Views to properties on realtor.com from the United Kingdom have followed a downward trend post Brexit, and this has been particularly evident this year," said realtor.com.

Last fall, Inman reported that annual growth in realtor.com’s international listing views from potential buyers in the U.K. “dropped sharply in July, the month after Brexit.” And the downward trend continued in August.

Has it reversed itself? Has the invocation of Article 50 in March of this year — the first step in actually detaching the United Kingdom from the European Union — had any effect on search patterns?

A downward trend

“Views to properties on realtor.com from the United Kingdom have followed a downward trend post Brexit, and this has been particularly evident this year,” said realtor.com’s Janice McDill in an email.

The real estate portal reported that “views from UK users were virtually flat” in November and December 2016 — meaning that the number of people in the UK looking at homes in the United States did not show growth between November 2015 and November 2016, or between December 2015 and December 2016.

And in January, growth shrank; realtor.com reported that UK-based views of U.S. properties decreased by 11.0 percent year-over-year.

“The trend continued in February and March with 9.3 percent and 2.8 percent declines, respectively,” reported McDill.

What about the rest of Europe?

“This trend contrasted sharply with other international viewers,” McDill noted.

Unlike the UK, people located in other European Union countries searched for homes internationally at an increased year-over-year rate. But even as international pageviews have been increasing, the UK’s share of those pageviews has decreased.

Month/year International pageviews UK pageviews UK share of intl. pageviews (YOY change)
October 2016 5,271,290 414,208 -13.1%
November 2016 4,797,195 367,173 -19.4%
December 2016 4,696,013 363,823 -16.2%
January 2017 6,154,591 484,235 -23.4%
February 2017 5,836,111 482,522 -18.4%
March 2017 6,694,710 508,909 -16.1%

“The share of international traffic to listings on realtor.com, which had been declining since 2014, began to grow in June 2016 and has consistently grown on a year over year basis since,” McDill explained. “In contrast, the United Kingdom’s share of international traffic, which had been growing since 2014, began to consistently shrink on a year over year basis since March 2016.

“This trend has continued into March 2017, indicating that interest in American real estate from residents of the UK has not kept pace with rising interest elsewhere around the world,” she added.

More interest in UK real estate?

A fluctuating pound and increasing property values could lead to some investment opportunities in the U.K. — and draw potential investors away from U.S. shores.

“I’m a British citizen and I recently purchased an apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland. Prior to Brexit, the pound was at ~$1.40 and post Brexit it dropped to as low as $1.20. As a result, it’s now considerably cheaper to buy property in the UK than it was prior to Brexit,” said Chris Lee, the manager of research and sales development at TripleMint in New York. “Many people who have the choice of buying in NYC vs. the UK, including myself, think that the pound will recover to pre-Brexit levels within the next few years.

“Couple currency appreciation with property appreciation, which I predict will also occur over the next five years, and there is a lot of money to be made,” Lee added. “Obviously everything needs to be treated case by case, but I foresee a lot of people with the choice of buying an investment property in NYC vs. the UK choosing the UK. At least as long the pound is weak.”

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