We’re all used to estate agents’ language by now and can decode their adverts quite successfully. But its still unusual to see ‘cryptocurrency preferred’ as the seller’s position. But this is what’s come up during a sale in Brighton’s sought after Sussex Heights.

The flat

It’s on for £500,000 and has been valued at £525,000. The two bed flat is on the 20th floor of the Sussex Heights complex. This is an excellent example of 60s architecture designed by Richard Seifert and is famous for being the tallest building on the South Coast.

The seller is described as a “young tech entrepreneur” who has been dealing with cryptocurrencies for many years. The inside of the flat is much more modern than the building. It’s got fully integrated controls for everything from the heating to the music in the sizable sauna and steam room with a rainfall shower”. This makes complete sense for someone into the most cutting edge currency developments.

Why does he want cryptocurrency?

The seller has specified that he’d prefer Bitcoin or Ethereum as payment for the property, although he will accept sterling. The listed price of £500,000 equates to 21.48 Bitcoin.

He doesn’t have to reveal why he prefers cryptocurrency. We can only presume that he sees value in its potential future growth. If it’s purchased in Bitcoin or Ethereum, it’ll be only the third property in the UK to be bought by cryptocurrency

The listing agents are Brand Vaughan. Their director, David Vaughan, told The Argus: “Cryptocurrency has been gaining momentum every year. As we start to see more examples of real world adoption of digital currencies, it is a natural progression to see more property sales accepting Bitcoin and we are proud to play an early role in that. We are very excited to be able to give a platform to sellers embracing this digital currency revolution.”

What are the pros and cons of property deals using cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin and Ethereum are just two of the better known cryptocurrencies. And using cryptocurrencies to buy property in the UK is a very recent thing. For example, 2017 the Land Registry were permitted to record the first Bitcoin sale, where the buyers paid entirely with Bitcoin.

But it’s certainly not going to be the last, with most industry experts predicting that the property market will gradually seal the deal on an increasing number of houses as cryptocurrency becomes more widely used.

It’s worth mentioning here that HMRC do not call this cryptocurrency, nor do they recognise it as a currency. All HMRC documentation refers to it as cryptoassets. This makes it subject to a different kind of tax treatment.

Pros of buying your house with Bitcoin:

  • The often laborious process of house buying can be sped up because the transaction is simply between the seller and the buyer – no banks or building societies involved.
  • If it’s a ‘cryptocurrency only’ sale, you’ll have less competition.
  • Reduced credit or debit card fees, or sometimes there won’t be any at all.
  • Buyers using Bitcoin can remain anonymous because cryptocurrency isn’t owned by any financial institution.
  • Get a discount. Many sellers specifying cryptocurrency as a preference will give good discounts to those buyers.

Cons of buying a house with cryptocurrency:

  • Many estate agents and sellers are suspicious of the origins of cryptocurrency, which means they are unwilling to use it in property transactions. This is because the anonymity element enables its use for criminal dealings.
  • Volatility of the market means that cryptocurrency value can suddenly shoot down, as well as up. In the middle of a property sale, this makes fixing the price more difficult.
  • Insurance, stamp duty and fees are all more difficult when you use Bitcoin, or similar. Accurate translations of the price into pounds need to happen.
  • You’ll need to be able to afford to buy outright, as most lenders won’t give you a mortgage based on Bitcoin.

If you have cryptocurrency as part of your portfolio, there’s a growing trend towards its acceptance in the property industry. Like anything new, the traditional systems need time to adjust.