Sunday, November 06, 2005

Property abroad Gold Rush?

Brits with property abroad set to double, reveals new research from Barclays.
The number of Brits who own property abroad is set to double to 4.4 million, according to new research by Barclays. Five percent of those surveyed already own a home abroad (the equivalent of 2.2 million people in the UK) and a further five percent said that they are definitely going to buy a property overseas in the future. In addition, a staggering 37 percent of respondents said that they were considering a purchase abroad.

However, before the dream can become a reality, there are concerns that need to be overcome:
58 percent of those who are definitely or considering buying are concerned about getting caught out by local legal or tax issues.
17 percent were worried about keeping the property secure while it is empty.
A further 14 percent were concerned about being able to understand the local language well enough.
Only eight percent were worried about being taken for a ride and paying too much for a property.

And if a red-tape, trouble-free purchase could be guaranteed, the following countries would be the destinations of choice - with a couple of surprise destinations outside the European property hotspots making the top five.
Top countries for Brits planning to buy abroad:
1 Spain (inc Balearics and Canary Islands) 30%
2 USA 15%
3 France 14%
4 Italy 10%
5 South Africa 6%
6 Dubai 5%
7 Portugal 5%
8 Bulgaria 3%
9 Croatia 2%
10 Morocco 1%
11 Don't know 9%

Suzanne Clay, Head of European Business Development at Barclays comments: 'The trend towards owning property abroad shows no signs of abating..."

In a gold rush there are those who strike it lucky and there are those that lose. A cautionary note about Spain... I recently spoke to someone who had purchased two apartments off-plan but when they were complete she was unable to find buyers - and she could not find any tenants either. She has now had to re-mortgage her UK home to raise the cash to pay the mortgages on her Spanish 'investment'. There is a huge amount of new building flooding the Spanish market.

Chris Bell



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