According to the OverseasGuidesCompany.com inquiries from would-be overseas buyers are up 17pc since 2013. Spain, France, Portugal and Italy are all attracting interest from Britons. And partly, that’s thanks to low mortgage rates.
Angelos Koutsoudes, head of OverseasGuidesCompany.com, said that nearly a quarter of its inquiries are from those wanting to buy in Spain, thanks to mortgage rates from 2.75pc and availability of cheap properties.
According to spanishpropertyinsight.com, there are around 1.4m empty properties in Spain. In the Malaga region – popular with UK expats – there are 120,611 vacant homes, depressing house prices. And while Spanish property prices have been rising recently, they fell back last month by 6.3pc. That takes prices back to levels last seen in March 2003.
Tancred de Pola of Costa del Sol mortgage specialists thefinancebureau.com says that Britons are keen to pick up property deals, and account for around a third of its business, having almost disappeared in the years following the crash. “Apart from the UK we’ve seen an increasing number of buyers coming from the Middle East, particularly Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. They first came 25 years ago – but back then, they were cash buyers.”
If you don’t fancy Spain, the French property market is also attractive to British expats. John Busby of French Private Finance says that mortgage rates in France are now as low as a 20-year fixed rate of 2.9pc. He added: “When I first started in this market the thinking was that if you would be able to fix your mortgage under 4pc for 20 years, you would be onto a winner. Not many things are fixed or certain in this world but a French mortgage can be and I think you can be fairly certain about the value of 2.9pc fixed over 20 years.”
Italy is another popular location for UK expats to buy in and mortgages for expats go from 2.95pc. Mr Koutsoudes says that Italy has become more attractive thanks to a cut in property purchase taxes. He added: “Other reasons for its growing popularity include its lack of inheritance tax and no capital gains tax after five years.”
The Italian property market saw a 3.6pc increase in buying and selling in the third quarter of 2014, with city properties very popular. Most would-be buyers of fractional ownership company Appassionata’s latest property, Casa Tre Archi in the hilltop town of Petritoli are from the UK and US. A one-tenth share costs £65,000. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of Appassionata, said: “Given the average second-home owner is unlikely to use it for more than a few weeks a year anyway, fractional ownership makes perfect sense.”
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