Diversification has been at the heart of successful farming in the UK for many years, but three Welsh farmers have taken it one step further by creating a buy-to-let property empire – in Sweden.

Dissatisfied with the potential returns of traditional pensions, the three farmers, Nigel Evans and Bill Ridge, along with their accountant Huw Evans, decided to move into buy-to-let.

Having bought buy-to-let properties in south Wales, but put off by sharp house price increases in the UK, the trio aimed to branch into locations across Europe. Having looked at properties in Lithuania, they eventually settled on Gothenburg.

They were looking for solid, steady returns, rather than quick profits, and Gothenburg’s highly regulated, stable rental market proved ideal for their needs.

A £90,000 property in Gothenburg boasting a new kitchen could provide returns before costs of 12 per cent. After costs, this figure drops to around six per cent.

The farmers have now bought 320 properties mostly in the Gothenburg area since 2006, setting up a property investment firm called Evanridge to manage them all. While 85 per cent of their investors are presently farmers, now anyone with the minimum investment amount of £50,000 can invest.

Since the fund is based in Sweden it is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. But despite the risk, such European buy-to-let investment funds are becoming more popular.

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