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Buying abroad: top five overseas hotspots

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Many of us dream of a place in the sun, but which countries are most popular with Brits buying abroad?

British buyers are looking at a wide range of destinations when it comes to buying a home abroad, according to Simon Conn, overseas property professional and financial adviser.

But he reckons the most popular places to buy an overseas home this year are likely to be the long-term favourites.

Property hotspots

The expert on buying abroad said that he predicts the top five countries for overseas purchases in 2020 will be:

France: New properties continue to be built and purchased, with other areas available for potential development. Mortgages are available at around 80%-85% loan-to-value, although better lending terms are available for loans of 70% or less.

Italy: Continues to flourish, with Umbria and Tuscany being particularly popular. Mortgages are usually offered at a maximum of 60% loan-to-value, although in some cases it can go up to 70%.

Portugal: The Algarve, Lisbon and the Silver Coast remain popular, with mortgages available up to 80% loan-to-value. Better lending terms are available for loans of 70% or less.

Spain: Spain remains as popular as ever, with new developments being built. Mortgages are on offer up to 70% loan-to-value, with better lending terms available for loans of 60% or less. The Canary Islands and the Balearics are popular, too, with loan-to-value rates similar to mainland Spain.

USA: The most popular areas are still Florida, California and New York, with continued interest in Colorado, Texas and South Carolina. Mortgages are available at 70% loan-to-value, or up to 75% in Florida.

Conn added that, in addition to the above countries, Ireland, Canada and Malta also remain popular.

What buyers need to know

Buying property overseas is not always a straightforward process and expert support is recommended.

Conn said: “People must be aware that when they are buying a property abroad there may be other costs involved to cover government taxes and legal fees. For example, in France, Italy and Portugal buyers have to allow up to approximately 10%-12% of the purchase price for these costs. In Spain it rises to between 12%-16%.

“With any new development, it’s also imperative that independent legal advice is undertaken.”

Conn expects pent-up demand for overseas home to be released in 2020 following progress with Brexit. “With the Brexit deal soon to be done, the exchange rate should start to improve,” he said.

“We know there is a huge backlog of enquiries from people sitting on the fence. Once we are past €1.25 to €1.30 to the pound, we expect to see an increase in the number of European mortgage enquiries.”

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