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France and Spain favourites for overseas buyers

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

France and Spain remain firm favourites for those looking to buy a place in the sun, according to the latest Property Hotpots Report from HiFX. There has been an 80% decline in the number of buyers since the beginning of the financial crisis, but this is starting to pick up again.

Over a third (35%) of buyers are looking for a property in France, joint top with Spain. Mark Bodega, director at HiFX argues that France has a number of natural advantages: “Borrowing costs have tumbled in recent months and mortgage rates are at their lowest in years. Affordability has also been boosted by a slower property market as worries remain that France may well be lagging the rest of the Eurozone in terms of economic growth. Of course there’s also the added appeal of easy access from the UK, better weather and the way of life so much adored by British Francophiles.”

In Spain, property prices have fallen significantly since the financial crisis, but Bodega says buyers need to be discerning: “The macroeconomic outlook remains poor, and because of this, we are unlikely to see any further stabilisation in the current housing market. Buyers should remember that Spain is in a precarious position, not so much due to the weight of her sovereign debt compared to GDP, but due to the high levels of private debt and an extremely weak housing market.”

The USA and Canada remain popular, with 9% of buyers looking to purchase properties there in 2013. Over the past four months HiFX has seen that potential property buyers in the USA have continued to increase with enquiries from potential buyers up 8% since the start of the year, partly on the back of the recovery in US economic growth.

Ski properties have been the other area of strong growth, with 18% buyers looking for a property near a ski resort. Traditional favourites remain the most popular with Chamonix, Morzine and Trois Vallees topping the list, but clients are also starting to look further afield to places including Whistler, Lake Tahoe and even Queenstown in New Zealand.

On the flip side, there has been a steep decline in the number of buyers looking to buy property in emerging markets. Countries such as Bulgaria, Brazil, Egypt and Panama have fallen off buyers’ radars.