Now there’s an interesting situation. David Cameron is negotiating with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, but also a Polish politician, whose country-men arguably stand to lose most, by Benefit System changes in the UK.
Given that Polish is now the second main language spoken in England, we start to see how important Poland’s relationship is with the UK. Indeed the nature of property transactions in Poland reflect the intertwining of Polish and British relationships. Some couples who have met or married as a result of a move from Poland to the UK, or vice versa, now seek a bolthole apartment in cities like Krakow in Poland.
Donald Tusk, who was Prime Minister of his country for seven years, has shifted away from staunch supporter of David Cameron, reciprocating British support for Poland joining the European Union in 2004. Then the UK had a more open-door policy for Polish migrants from 2004 when most others restricted immigration.
Tusk is now a Statesman, representing the varied interests of Europe, as leader at EU Summits. 2015 heralded a new President in Poland, Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, both of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), which favours stronger relations with its neighbours but not necessarily Europe as a whole.
Poland, as Europe’s sixth biggest economy and now a power in its own right, is even considering its own version of the UK’s ‘diverted profits tax’ or the ‘Google tax’ as it has become known, as a way of ensuring taxes are captured.
So whether Cameron’s tussle with Tusk is successful or not, what would be the property-related fallout of a change in EU membership for the UK?
Residential Property Mortgages
Contextually we ought to think of the effect of Brexit on sovereign debt. How easily the wheels of the UK economy can be financed, has an effect on base rates and in turn mortgage interest rates. This could have a detrimental impact on British buyers of property abroad, if they were to use a mortgage in GBP. Although it may have less impact on borrowing in the local currency of euros or Polish Zloty.
It is more difficult to get a mortgage abroad as a foreign national, particularly given the necessary compliance with the European-driven Mortgage Credit Directive as of 2016. Yet this situation could ease if the UK were no longer bound by this Directive. In simple terms, it restricts a lot of lending outside the domestic currency.
One thing which would change, would be the perception of Britain’s standing around the World.
There will however, always be interest in buying a holiday home abroad in one part or another of Europe, whether that be Spain, France or Cyprus or a city-centre bolthole in Poland or Germany. The latest tax changes in the UK have made buying abroad a whole lot more attractive, given even George Osborne can’t introduce tax changes in other countries. A second home abroad will not have the stamp duty surcharge or the treatment of mortgage interest rate relief applied in the same way. Although evidently there will be other local tax regimes which need to be checked out for your personal circumstances.
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