UK Buyers Buying Overseas Property Again

UK Buyers Buying Overseas Property Again

If you’re looking to sell overseas property fast, then there has never been a more fortuitous time to do so, especially with the British Pound rising and with UK buyers buying overseas property again. The British have always been the biggest buyers of overseas property.

However, for quite a few years, following the Great Recession of 2008, the number of Britons buying property abroad had decreased by quite a lot. The last few years saw the Russians, Arabs and the Chinese emerge as the most important investors in overseas property.

That has changed now, with the economic recovery in the UK complete and national economy more buoyant than ever. The confidence in the Britain is well and truly back and that means more people are looking to invest their wealth in second homes in Spain, Portugal, France and so on.

According to a survey commissioned by FXcompared Intelligence weeks after the UK General Elections – which saw Prime Minister David Cameron return to office with a simple majority, there has been a new wave of confidence among Britons, which has led them – as many as 46% – to consider taking advantage of the strength of the Pound and the relative weakness of the Euro, to buy the dream home they always wanted in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, France and other hot destinations.

Indeed, 23% of those polled said they were considering buying property abroad over the next 12 to 18 months, largely because of the lifestyle factor and the weather. Britons believe that their money would carry them a lot further abroad than it would at home in London or Manchester.

Also, the cost of acquiring property in Briton is higher than ever, with changes to the UK Stamp Duty and property tax cited as being a bit too much. Housing costs in the UK, especially in London have reached astronomical proportion, with the average house price in London being £513,000, which is 40% above peak prices just before the financial crisis.

So what do Britons look for when buying overseas property, apart from the weather and the lifestyle?  One of the biggest factors for most British buyers is the accessibility of the location – the closer it is to the UK, the better. Which is why French, Portuguese and Spanish properties are in such high demand. Britons aged between 55 and 64 are the most enthusiastic of overseas property buyers, with those aged 45 to 54 coming next.

As Daniel Webber, managing director of FXcompared explains, “With unprecedented opportunities for overseas buyers given the low euro, property investors believe they can get more bricks and mortar for their money abroad.”

“Over the next 12 to 18 months we could see a trend among residential and commercial property investors, focusing heavily on major European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. Aside from the financial reasons for pursuing foreign property ownership, lifestyle choices are still playing a big role too, with better weather and transport links major factors when choosing where to buy investment property,” Mr. Webber added.

Indeed, of the properties sold in Spain in the first six months of 2015, 12.7 percent were bought by foreign nationals, with British buyers dominating for the most part, accounting for nearly 20% of all purchases made by overseas buyers.  A lot of Britons live in Spain – as many as 750,000 people – in the most beautiful locations such as the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Andalusia and Catalonia.

Clare Nessling, director at overseas mortgage specialists Conti, says: “Spain remains top of the list for British buyers, accounting for roughly half of our enquiries. The Spanish property market is on the up again after a tough few years and British investors are rediscovering their love for this beautiful country.”

After Spain, France is the most popular destination for British buyers seeking overseas property, closely followed by Portugal, Turkey, with Italy coming fifth.

Elaine Ferguson, an estate agent working for says Portugal holds a plenty of attraction for British buyers: “Property prices are expected to rise by three per cent over the year ahead, and then five per cent a year over the next five years, with the Algarve and Lisbon spearheading growth.”