Demand for overseas property on the rise

20 November 2013

Interest in buying property abroad is on the up again, as it is revealed almost half of UK over-50s are tempted to move abroad in retirement.

Research from deVere Group has found that 49.5% of over-50s are seriously considering a move overseas, and mortgage enquiry figures for purchase in Europe seem to concur.

Overseas mortgage broker Conti says confidence is returning to the overseas property market, and 43% of enquiries it has received in the past month have been for purchases in Spain.

That tallies with deVere's research, which finds a majority (28%) would be most likely to relocate to Spain. France and Italy are the next most popular locations, the first choice of 12% and 8% of people respectively.

According to figures from the General Council of Notaires, the first half of 2013 saw international property purchases in Spain grow by 13.6% from the same period in 2012, with Brits the biggest buying group.

The Bank of Spain reports that foreign investment in Spain was more than €2,834 million for that period, the largest sum since 2004.

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Clare Nessling, director at Conti, says several factors are driving the country's popularity among British buyers, including booming tourism, easy access and familiarity. "It has also become much more affordable – mortgage rates are very low, the pound has been getting stronger, and prices are still bottoming out in some areas," she adds.

Nigel Green, chief executive of deVere, says the "cost of living crisis" in the UK is causing more people to think about moving away; some 70% of respondents to its survey cited living costs as their biggest concern.

But Nessling warns that people still need to be careful when buying property abroad. She says that before making a purchase, buyers must be sure to obtain an Approval in Principle; consider exchange rate fluctuations; beware of new-build properties; remember to factor in additional costs; and ensure they seek professional advice.

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer

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