It would seem that the British buyer’s craving for overseas property knows no limit, Enquiries for overseas property jumped up by an incredible 53% at offices of UK estate agents in 2015, and as we welcome 2016, this is expected to go up even higher. This is a major relief, especially for those who have overseas property for sale.
Confidence in Britain is up, with a business friendly government in power. More people feel emboldened to buy overseas properties, and they are buying them in familiar destinations - Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and the USA.
We discuss each of these countries, but first, a word on Spain and France. Spain continues to be as popular as ever, and gets over 40% of the enquiries from people looking to buy overseas property. France is popular too. In fact, Spain and France account for the bulk of the enquiries made by Britons looking to relocate abroad. Britons are interested in other destinations as well, thankfully, but the fact remains that none come close to Spain and France in the popularity stakes.
The strength of the pound, coupled with cheap mortgages and low property prices have fuelled this renewal of interest in overseas property from Brits. Overseas property buyers are encouraged by the fact that they have a very stable economy back in the UK and the political situation has never been better. The pension reforms have kicked in as well, so Britons have more money to spend than ever before.
So here are the top 5 countries where British buyers are buying overseas property…
Spain is the world’s #1 country for tourism, as well as the prime destination for investors looking to buy overseas property. Over 70 million foreign tourists visited Spain in 2016, which is a record. This represents a significant increase over the previous year, and just goes to show that the interest in Spain is very much back. Spain is cool, once again. It wasn’t easy for Spain following the Great Recession of 2008, but the country has paid its dues and largely recovered. Unemployment is still high, but not nearly as high as it was only a couple of years ago. There’s a huge British expat community in Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, that’s where most of the British interest can be found.
France is second only to Spain, getting almost 30% of all enquiries from Brits looking for overseas property. Property prices in France are very attractive right now, which, combined with the weakness of the euro and the strength of the pound, are available at a real bargain for British buyers. French properties always offer great value and France is a very stable country - politically and economically.
Not many people know that Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has one of the lowest crime rates anywhere, which is amazing as Lisbon is a large and diverse city. The Algarve is the most popular region in Portugal, with Vilamoura seeing a lot of new real estate development. Portugal’s tax system is very simple and friendly towards foreign buyers, which is another point in its favour.
Italy has always been one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is also very popular with Brits looking to settle abroad. British buyers look to invest in small towns and villages in Italy, with vineyards, great natural scenery and cozy little eateries, which offer a laidback lifestyle, and are as far away as possible from the usual tourist haunts.
British buyers have always bought properties in the USA. There isn’t much of the difference in culture between the two countries and they have always shared close ties that date back to several hundred years. But interest in U.S. properties was relatively muted, because of the strength of the U.S. dollar, which is the best performing currency in the world. This has made the USA an expensive destination for Britons hoping to buy overseas property.