Ever go on vacation and think, “Bloody hell, I’d love to live here.” You’re not alone. In fact, the dream of buying property abroad is pursued by more and more Britons each year.
The Department for Communities and Local Government recently reported that the number of English citizens buying property abroad has grown to more than 200,000, or a 60-percent increase from 129,000 in 2000-01. In 2006, UK national statistics found that 400,000 Brits spent more than one year away from home.
On Friday, the currency specialty firm HiFX reported that the number of citizens in the United Kingdom rose by 22 percent in 2007 alone. Property firm Olive Tree International said it’s seen exponential growth in the interest of Britons looking to buy real estate in places through Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and elsewhere.
“What all these figures do show is the continuing and escalating interest in buying abroad and not just in established countries such as Spain and Italy but also in new areas such as Bulgaria, Cape Verde and Bahrain which have also proved very popular in recent years, “The company’s director, Richard Brady, told the Daily Telegraph.
The appeal of living in far-flung places varies from individual to individual. Retirees sick of the cold and rain in the UK want sun; Real estate investors want the opportunity for big profits; Independent contractors with online companies want low taxes; The adventurous want the thrill of experiencing life away from the security that home provides.
Some experts warn that the dream can turn into a nightmare if the appropriate steps are not taken when buying overseas. Mortgages in a foreign currency, tax laws, territorial rules and other variables that take the fun out of the process of picking up and going need to be considered.
“Strip excitement from the investment and work out the worst-case scenario. There’s no easy answer: it depends on you. But everyone is happy with finance when prices are going up – and they’re not when they’re not,” said Lance Nelson of the finance firm Jet2Let.