Following a surge in the number of Brits looking to purchase international property after lockdown, Jana Korpova-Harris, director of growth at Property Guides, tells us why UK residents are increasingly keen to buy their own home overseas.
As international travel restrictions begin to ease, Brits are considering what life after lockdown looks like for them, with many reassessing how and where they want to spend their time. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that enthusiasm to buy a property abroad is on the up, despite ongoing global health concerns.
In fact, we have seen an increasing number of people purchasing overseas for health reasons, with many choosing to make the move now in order to fulfil dreams of a more active and healthier lifestyle in a warmer climate. What’s more, with remote working on the rise following Covid-19, many Brits now have the flexibility to spend more time than ever in their second homes.
In addition, a further cut in interest rates is prompting many Brits to reconsider how they should spend their money, with international property remaining a strong investment opportunity in an otherwise unpredictable financial climate.
Is now a good time to buy a property overseas?
Many economies around the world have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this doesn’t necessarily signal that it’s a bad time to buy overseas. In fact, the opposite can be true. Our research suggests that nearly half of those looking to purchase a property abroad post-lockdown are cash buyers, meaning they are unlikely to be impacted by volatile markets and could stand to benefit as the pound continues to regain its strength against the euro.
Whilst Brexit is another consideration for those looking to relocate permanently, we don’t anticipate this causing any major issues when it comes to residency. Currently, other third-country nationals can secure a visa if their income equates to or exceeds the local minimum wage, a scheme that we expect Brits to benefit from post-Brexit.
Where is the best place to buy?
France and Spain remain the most popular destinations, both for Brits looking to purchase a luxury holiday home or to relocate permanently. In Spain, our research shows that the South-East coast, between Dénia on the North Costa Blanca and Gibraltar, remains the most popular location amongst British buyers. With crisp Mediterranean beaches, warm winters and no shortage of things to do all year round, the area represents a perfect spot for those seeking a new lifestyle in a warmer climate. What’s more, the arrival of the region’s new airport in 2017 has made access to the area from the UK easier than ever before.
In France, Nouvelle Aquitaine is the most desirable region. Known for its lush valleys, vineyards and picturesque medieval towns, it offers a calm and relaxed lifestyle. The North-West regions of Brittany and Normandy also remain popular due to their ultra-low borrowing rates and a range of beautiful countryside properties up for grabs.
Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal’s Algarve remains a great option for those searching for high-end property. With stunning views, bustling towns and opulent new-build properties popping up along the coastline every month, it’s no wonder the region remains one of Europe’s most popular locations. Portugal also offers ‘golden visas’ to overseas buyers who invest in properties worth €500,000 or more, allowing them to gain a residency permit. What’s more, following its efficient handling of the coronavirus crisis, Portugal is one of only a handful of countries expected to see a rise in property prices this year, making it a strong investment opportunity.
What types of properties are popular?
With many buyers motivated by a change in pace, properties that offer Brits a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle remain the most popular. For example, there is increasing demand for golf properties, despite the number of people taking up the sport declining. This is because these resorts often include a host of wellness facilities, including high-end gyms, spas, pools and restaurants, offering Brits a slower paced lifestyle that cannot easily be achieved in the UK.
This trend can be identified across Europe. In Spain, detached villas remain the most sought-after properties for 2020. In France, it’s tranquil country cottages that are favoured. Both property types provide peace, privacy and a link to the great outdoors, offering the change in pace that many buyers are striving for. In addition, these properties tend to offer maximum space and can be adapted to suit individual buyers’ needs. For example, we have noticed a rise in the number of buyers seeking properties with extra bedrooms that can be converted to studies to facilitate remote working.
What are the best ways to discover properties abroad right now?
With overseas travel beginning to open up to some destinations across Europe, many of our clients have already booked trips to view properties abroad. However, for those who don’t yet feel ready to get back in the air, agents in the UK and overseas are offering virtual viewings, allowing prospective buyers to have a real-time tour of properties they are interested in from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
UK-based events, like The Luxury Property Show, also allow buyers to view an eclectic mix of properties from agents across the globe, all in one place and without the need to fly.
For step-by-step resources on how to buy your dream property abroad, visit propertyguides.com.