France overseas mortgage interest picks up, but Spain reigns

Spain remains the top choice for Britons buying property abroad, accounting for almost half of all overseas mortgage inquiries from specialist Conti in 2015.

Spain accounted for 46% of enquiries, despite France stealing a march on its lead during the second half of the year, says Conti.

After years of the Spanish market being depressed, it is now starting to pick up, with Knight Frank reporting a 1.2% year-on-year rise in Spanish property prices from the third quarter of 2014.

France outperformed Spain in the fourth quarter of the year, when it accounted for 44% of enquires compared with Spain’s 42%.

Over the course of the 2015, France took 34% of Conti inquiries, but the growing value of the pound against the euro and the lowest mortgage rates in more than 60 years are making it affordable than ever to snap up a property across the Channel and buyers are taking full advantage.

Maintaining third place in the hot spots list is Portugal, achieving a 15% of enquiries during 2015, up from 11% in 2014. Property prices are on the up again at last, but are still generally below pre-recession levels, so investors, feeling more confident about the future and buoyed by the growing strength of sterling, are coming back to the market.

Conti Director, Clare Nessling, says, “It’s great to see the old favourites topping the list of overseas property hotspots. It wasn’t so long ago that the Spanish market was shrouded in doom and gloom, but the market has turned the corner at last and excellent buying conditions are luring investors back. We’re also seeing buyer’s markets in France and Portugal, and there’s been a general lift in confidence among buyers who are returning to these traditional markets in their droves.

“Bargain prices and historically low mortgage rates are making it more affordable than ever to snap up a property in all three countries, but the biggest boost to buyers’ budgets has been the growing strength of the pound, providing them with more buying power and more pounds in the pot. Long may it continue.”

Conti, established in 1994, works closely with overseas lenders and provides a complete hand-holding service, advising on the most favourable lending rates and negotiating competitive loan-to-value schemes.

Conti is a trading style of Ancon International Ltd. In addition, UK mortgages are available via a sister company, Anchor Mortgages, which is regulated by the FCA.