Owning a home abroad has long been a dream of many Britons, but for some the costs have been prohibitive. However, the economic crisis has laid bare new opportunities to enter a property ladder overseas, with huge drops in house values being recorded – particularly in southern Europe.
In Spain, UK buyers have been attracted by drops of up to 70 per cent in property prices, giving way to the idea that there are many bargains to be had. Under-pressure banks with hundreds of repossessed properties on their books are keen to recoup losses as quickly as possible.
Money is certainly flowing into Spain, with one currency exchange firm, World First, having reported a 52 per cent increase in money transfers to the country, and a 63 per cent rise in transfers to the Irish Republic.
Massive property price drops have been seen in Cyprus and Ireland, where interest from UK buyers had surged hugely in recent months; the Cypriot banking crisis plunged the country’s property market into chaos in January, and overseas buyers began bargain hunting almost immediately.
Some of the price drops are regarded by experts as ‘corrections’ after being overpriced in the past, while other properties are considered extremely good value.
It seems that low property prices are luring UK residents back to countries such as Spain and Cyprus, but that it is ultimately the old plus-points which are the underlying enticement: liveable towns with good amenities, and above all, better weather than the UK.
Are you one of our landlord or buy-to-let insurance customers with an eye on southern European or Irish property purchases? Or do you feel property price drops are simply reflecting the genuine value of overseas homes? As always, leave your thoughts below.