Manchester Metropolitan University and the BBC’s A Place in the Sun are teaming up to carry out research into the overseas property market. Speaking to trade magazine Overseas Property Professional they said that their research will cover who buys property abroad, how they finance it, what they use it for and why they buy it. It will be interesting to read their report, when it is published. Until then, we have put together some ideas of our own about why people buy abroad. They fall into three main groups.
Holidaymakers are those who want to buy abroad mostly so that they can use their home for themselves. They want a base that they, their family and their friends can use for relaxed, extended holidays. Having made their purchase, they probably want to use it as much as possible, so might travel there several times a year. They might rent their property out part of the year too, to help pay for it. If you want to buy a holiday home, then location is important. If you plan to visit often, then buying within an hour or so of a major airport or port is a good idea. Think about the size of the property: don’t buy larger than you need if you won’t use the space.
Those who want to move abroad have the freedom to really buy their dream home. Different considerations apply when moving. You might want to buy a more traditional home in a local village, and get to know the language and culture. Or, you might be keen to be somewhere with a ready-made expat community that you can join. Think about access to services when you move abroad: do you need schools? Medical care? Supermarkets? Your needs for life are different from your needs for a two-week trip.
Those who buy to invest either hope to make a return on their investment by selling in a rising market a few years after buying, or they want to make a rental income, or both. The first is riskier, so do your research if that is something you’re considering. Be prepared for the market to fall unexpectedly: you may need to hold on to your property for longer than you planned. Buying to rent tends to be less risky, as long as you buy in an established holiday area without a property oversupply. Look for areas with long or year-round seasons for the best return.
Whatever your reasons for buying abroad, it can be both exciting and fulfilling to own property overseas. You get the chance to get to know another country’s people and culture, and often make new friends. Remember to get the basics right, getting overseas property insurance in place and good local legal advice.