Overseas Property Appeals to 1.4M Britons

December 17th, 2008

Some 40% of Brits either own, or intend to buy an overseas property in the future, with 2.4% (1.44 million of the total population) stating that they would look to purchase within 12 months, according to a new survey from Barclays Bank in association with Homes Overseas magazine.

The research found that the most popular country for those polled was France (25.9%), followed by Spain (24.9%). Italy, Portugal, Dubai and South Africa ranked 3rd to 6th respectively.

Brits aged 16 – 24 were found to be the most likely to consider buying abroad in the next 12 months, while at present, people aged 55 and over are the biggest owners of overseas property. Villas (48%), apartments (39%) and farmhouses (29%) are the most popular types of properties for those that own, or intend to buy, property abroad.

When asking Brits what their main motivation would be to buy abroad, 35.6% said that retirement was the biggest single thing driving them overseas, while 31.4% were after a holiday home and 25.4% were looking to invest purely for capital gains. Bad weather, a lower quality of life and an expensive cost of living were all listed as reasons for choosing an overseas property for the above instead of the UK.

When it comes to choosing a property to buy, referrals from friends (30.9%) came top in the decision making process, followed by specialist websites (29.9%), dedicated overseas property magazines (17.7%) and property exhibitions (10.8%).

The majority of respondents (43.1%) said that they would finance their purchase in cash, while 28.3% would sell their UK property and 19.9% would remortgage their homes to finance the purchase abroad. Over 60% of all surveyed owned at least one property in the UK.

Marc Da-Silva, editor of www.homesoverseas.co.uk, said: “Our research categorically shows that Brits still have a large appetite for homes abroad, and why not? The global property market slowdown should definitely be perceived as a window of opportunity to negotiate a property deal at a bargain basement price. The prospect of a zero per cent UK interest rate may tempt some Brits to stay put and buy property in the UK, but it won’t improve the lifestyle, weather or food. Interest rates are also falling overseas and this will lower the cost of borrowing to fund peoples’ international property dreams.”

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