IN THE WORLD?
Most people who buy a property abroad will have a pretty good idea of where they want to buy, whether a specific country, region, or even
resort. Holiday-home ownership is often referred to as the “final stage of tourism” and indeed the story behind a good many property purchases will involve
owners being drawn back to the same place year after year and then finally deciding to commit more fully by buying their own home there.
But maybe you don’t know where to buy for sure? It’s all too easy to get bamboozled with tempting landscapes, persuasive arguments and alluring prices but
usually the best place to start is asking yourself why you want to buy abroad.
Knowing what you want your property to do for you is explored more fully on page 7 but if we take the most popular current locations for residential property
hunters (we are not talking about commercial property investment in this guide), it’s a useful snapshot.
Spain is the stand-out favourite, according to multiple sources, because it ticks so many boxes.
We are not only talking about the perennial issues of accessibility,
climate, beaches and quality of amenities that have kept its
tourism numbers swelling year after year, but the fact that properties are so affordable
there currently. In 2014 Spain began to emerge from its worst ever property crash so that whilst prices are still well down on their
2006/07 peak, investors have the confidence of putting their money into a market capable of recovery.
So, to summarise: Spain’s an established, relatively familiar market for the British with buoyant tourism promising reasonable returns for property hunters
seeking to cover their running costs; with a decent chance of some capital growth too.
Of course the flipside of the coin is that some of Spain’s coastal areas might already offer too many British, or indeed foreign,
owners for some people’s liking, so for a more “authentic” experience of owning abroad they might head to less familiar locations such as Turkey,
Greece, Italy or Croatia.
With property prices still well down from their peak in many Eurozone countries outside Spain, affordability – combined with a
strong pound to euro rate at the time of writing - is also drawing buyers. If you’ve always hankered after a home in Portugal, France,
Italy, Greece or Cyprus, then now is arguably the best time in over a decade to buy it – if you have cash. Note that lending
options have narrowed in all those countries with the notable exception of France, where mortgage rates are at record-lows.
…or why not?
For those seeking year-round sun, Florida remains the popular choice, again with fast-growing tourism and property prices down
from their 2006 peak – though rising again in many hotspots such as Orlando and Miami.
The sugar-sand beaches and laid-back vibe of the Caribbean is often high on many people’s wish-list but generally require deeper pockets, as are other
bucket-list locations such as the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s Western Cape or the Maldives.
Your money will go much further in Thailand, however affordability must be weighed against ownership complications for foreign buyers and the varied risks of buying in an emerging
market. Since the global downturn the horizons of British buyers have certainly narrowed and focused on the “safe” and close to home.
Yes, there’s still an interest in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and North Africa for the intrepid, but “new” destinations are regarded
with an entirely healthy dose of caution.