Almost a quarter of British expats are considering selling their UK properties

Experts for Expats’ recent cost of living survey reported by IFA Investment has revealed that 23% of people living abroad are considering selling their UK property as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis, writes Zah Azeem, Partner at Wimbledon based Chartered Surveyors Scrivener Tibbatts.

The survey, which was conducted at the end of 2022, asked 200 people with UK connections how the ongoing cost of living crisis was affecting their immediate and future plans.

Of the people considering selling a property in the UK, 72% of them are also receiving an income from UK property and 67% are now looking to use the equity to support their retirement.

In addition to expats’ plans to sell one or more UK properties, the survey also revealed that nearly 90% of expats aren’t using currency exchange services to transfer their UK income abroad. This is despite 22% of people living abroad receiving £50k or more per year from UK sources, leaving them exposed to bank charges and continuously fluctuating exchange rates.

While leaving money in the UK can ensure expats aren’t exposed to fluctuating exchange rates in quite the same way, 9% of people receive their UK income in foreign bank accounts meaning they are exposed to both bank charges and the currency exchange rate of the day.

UK Capital Gains Tax requirements are often unknown to British expats

Selling a UK residential property while living abroad can also attract capital gains tax, even if you are a non-resident. The Experts for Expats survey also highlighted that 61% of people aren’t aware that capital gains tax may be due or that a non-resident capital gains tax return must be filed.

Jamie Favell, Partner at Tax Advisory Partnership, said “Expats also need to be careful to ensure they are reporting the sale of their UK property correctly in their country of residence, to avoid further problems there too.  If there is tax payable locally, then they may be able to claim a credit for any UK tax payable reducing the overall tax due.”

This is particularly relevant for people selling a UK property as the tax deduction will not only hit their equity, but any tax due has to be reported and paid to HMRC within 60 days of completion.

If you would like to discuss something related to a property valuation, please contact me direct via email at or call 020 8947 7040.