10 Of The Hottest Destinations To Buy Property Overseas

In our recent series of articles we have looked at how to open a bank account overseas, how to arrange an overseas mortgage, and how to calculate tax on an overseas property.

So, with the hard work done, let’s indulge ourselves a bit and take a look at some of the best overseas destinations for property buyers, and some of the hottest properties on these markets. Of course, we cannot cover all of the best properties or give you all the facts in just one article, and we would urge you, wherever you do decide to buy, to take good advice and complete as much research as you can before you make a purchasing decision. But that said, this could be a great place to start your search!

We’re sure you have your own ideas about where you would most like to emigrate to and we’ve love to hear about them! Perhaps we can offer you some advice? The Money Cloud compares the costs of sending money abroad offered by top FCA Authorised brokers and money transfer agencies, rating them on factors such as price, speed, and fees, so we can help you decide who to entrust with sending your money overseas in advance of making a purchase. Go ahead and try it!

To get you started on your search or just to pique your interest if you are thinking of relocating abroad, we have selected 10 destinations that offer the kind of lifestyle, culture and affordable or luxury property market that may well suit your tastes. Take a look, and if we can help in any way, feel free to drop us a line.

Italy

Market: The market for overseas property in Italy is on the rise – house sales in Italy grew by more than 17% in Autumn 2016, according to some sources, due to favourable mortgage rates and good value property.

Where to buy? Tuscany is Italy’s most popular region for overseas buyers, but there is a great deal of variety, from Milan, Venice and Genoa in the North of the country, to the Puglia and Calabria regions in the south, and of course the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Stability? Italy’s cautious approach to property lending means that the country has not experienced the boom and bust of Britain, for example – Italians tend to only switch properties every 20 years or so. The holiday home market is performing well, and away from Tuscany, where bargains are harder to come by due to its popularity, there are currently bargains to be had.

Featured property? This Stone and brick farmhouse situated in Fabro, Umbria, featured on the Homes and Villas Abroad website has been reduced from €160,000 euros to just €75,000. The property comes with 2 bathrooms and bedrooms, a dining room, and is situated close to the town centre.

France

Market: some of the uncertainty in the French property market has been resolved thanks to the recent election of Emmanuel Macron, who is expected stability to the country. The signs are good that the French economy will grow, and that the property market has “bottomed out”. This may make real bargains harder to come by, but as a long-term proposition, this could be a great time to invest in a property in France.

Where to buy? There is plenty of variety in France, from Normandy farmhouses in the North, which can be reached from London via Eurostar in a matter of hours, to the French Riviera, offering beautiful weather and views of the Mediterranean, to ski chalets in the east of the country and old-style country living in regions such as Bordeaux and Languedoc. France more or less has it all, and retains a strong sense of community that many buyers will cherish.

Stability? French property is popular with overseas investors and post-election, France looks like a much more stable proposition. The property market is incredibly varied so buyers must make sure to do full research. With Brexit looming, British buyers may be looked on with more suspicion than in previous years, but with the euro strengthening and the Eurozone performing admirably, investing in French property, providing you do your homework, is as attractive a proposition as it has been in some years.

Featured property:  This charming villa in the Cote D’Azur is on the doorstep of Monaco, with a sea view, 3 bedrooms, and room for a swimming pool. One for nature lovers!

Malta

Market: Maltese property prices are on the rise in one of Europe’s fastest growing economies, with double digit price rises not uncommon over the past couple of years. Schemes such as the Individual Investor Programme, targeting high net worth investors, have proved successful, and subsidies of up to €100,000 are available for the restoration of properties within urban conservation areas. Whilst there are a few concerns about a property bubble, compared to last decade, when the cost of property sky-rocketed, the market looks prosperous rather than over-priced. It can be hard to acquire property in Malta, especially if you are looking for buy-to-let – and taxes are above average – but this is a reflection of how desirable a destination Malta is.

Where to buy: Malta comprises three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, as well as a number of uninhabited islands. Areas such as the Valletta Waterfront and Tigné Point are some of the best Malta has to offer, whilst the island of Gozo, with just 31,000 inhabitants, is one of the Mediterranean’s best kept secrets.

Stability: As mentioned above, rumours of a Maltese property bubble are likely to be wide of the mark, and by all accounts Malta is a safe, stable country whose economy is currently flourishing. The cost of living in Malta is cheap by European standards and for retirees, it is even better value. With limited space on the island, property in Malta is likely to retain its value, at the very least.

Featured property: this penthouse (sold direct by the owner) in Ta’ Xbiex is close to the seafront and has its own mini-pool, 2 bedrooms and a 35 square meter terrace.

Australia

The Market: Property prices in Australia currently are being described as “on fire” and this is being driven by investment in property from overseas, according to many sources. Property in big cities, notably Sydney and Melbourne, is gaining in price at a rate of around 15% per annum, and to acquire a house in Sydney, for example, may well set you back more than $1 million Australian dollars. That said, on the other side of the country, in Perth for example, prices are stagnating. There are plenty of incentives encouraging buyers to invest in Australian properties, and the quality of life in cities such as hipster Melbourne, sophisticated Sydney and busy Brisbane is high. Approval must be sought from the Foreign Investment Review Board before permission is granted for overseas buyers to acquire property in Australia.

Where to buy: the aforementioned cities probably stand out as the des res locations for overseas property buyers to search in, but there is also Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane and Cairns, and a wealth of suburban locations around the Gold Coast, for example. The truly adventurous might wish to explore central Australia – great for wannabe vineyard owners!

Stability: The Australian property market is rising in value, mostly due to overseas investment, most notably from China. Whilst the amount of overseas investment is making life difficult for locals who are struggling to raise the money for a deposit, the property market is likely to hold its value over the medium to long term, and the Australian government is doing its best to keep everyone happy. Sand, sea and surf on the coast and sophisticated modern city living are perks of a market that could overheat in the short term – but most are buying for the lifestyle, not to realise short term profits.

Featured Property: these glamorous, upmarket one-bedroomed apartments in Sydney have the “wow” factor and come with every convenience imaginable.

Dubai

The Market: Dubai is another overseas destination whose property market is expected to “bottom out” before the end of 2017. Property prices have generally been in decline – by as much as 8% year on year. There is a good deal of supply in Dubai, and an abundance of credit available if you look in the right places, so the prospects of securing a good property in Dubai, whether as a buy-to-let or permanent residence, are good.

Where to buy: Dubai specialises in out of town developments that are big on luxury, but of course there are plenty of city centre properties also. Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island which, amongst other developments, has helped to extend Dubai’s coastline by 520 kilometres. There is also the Marina. A popular option is to invest in plots of land and turn it into a super home- a nice option, if you can afford it!

Stability? Buying property in Dubai is less of a risk than it once was, but at the same time there is less risk/reward to be had. The property market is maturing and the property bubble has burst, which means property valuations are now more realistic than they once were. Many Dubai property buyers are of the “money no object” school, which means prices can escalate quickly, but whatever your budget, securing a good value, sustainable property in Dubai is eminently possible.

Featured Property: Dubai specialises in stunning views, and this luxury penthouse doesn’t disappoint.

Spain:

The Market: Ever popular with British ex-pats, the Spanish property market is famous for locations such as the Costa Del Sol, Andalucía, and Costa Brava, but city living in Spain affords many great opportunities also. Demand is on the rise, perhaps as brits try to secure property before Brexit begins to kick in, but of course there are tens of thousands of opportunities and the Spanish property market is only likely to go one way – up!

Where to buy? Overseas property buyers tend to favour the South Coast, from Barcelona all the way to Cadiz. Cities such as Malaga are on the up, and then there are the Balearic isles; Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca. In the north, you have San Sebastian in the Basque region, Galicia in the North West, and Madrid in the centre. Wherever you look, property in Spain is attractive affordable, and the lifestyle is enviable.

Stability: Spain is likely to remain a popular and stable option for the foreseeable future – you may not find outstanding bargains in such a mature market, but provided you do your research and don’t fall victim to property “sharks” good value and sustainable property that holds its value is readily available. Spain experienced a construction crisis after the global financial collapse of 2008, with many property developments languishing unfinished, which means that some areas and developments are best avoided.

Featured property: property agency Lucas Fox specialises in refurbished properties. Sitges, a popular area just outside of Barcelona offers some outstanding properties such as this villa with communal pool and large garden.

Florida

The Market: hugely popular with retirees thanks to an outstanding climate, Florida’s property market experienced a correction after the financial collapse of 2008 but has since recovered. Luxury condos, retirement homes and city living opportunities make Florida a competitive but tempting market to get involved in. It can be intimidating to explore Florida’s property scene with no prior experience, but with the right budget and approach it can be very rewarding, too.

Where to buy? The wealth of options on offer in Florida can be confusing, so it is best to complete thorough research before starting your search for property there. According to Nerd Wallet, some of the best places to buy in Florida in the current climate include Doral, Miami Lakes, Bal Harbour (with a population below 3,000!),Pinecrest and Cape Coral.

Stability: Florida is a big place and without prior knowledge of the market it is best to be cautious. That said, Florida property is amongst the most stable in America, according to Freddie Mac, but it is also regarded as a “seller’s market” currently. The average price for a 3-bedroomed home in South Florida is around $300,000 – considered expensive by American standards.

Featured property: the outdoorsy lifestyle Florida affords does not mean you have to sacrifice indoor comforts. This 4 bed residence in Orlando offers a gourmet kitchen, as well as a gorgeous outdoor pool.

Thailand

The Market: the charm of Thailand is undeniable, and although political instability threatened the property market a few years ago, Thai property companies were quick to launch a charm offensive subsequently. Thailand offers world class beaches, islands with jaw dropping coastlines, and affordable prices.

Where to buy? In the north of Thailand, where you will find mountains and forests, Chiang Mai is highly regarded, whilst in the South you will find some of Thailand’s most celebrated islands, such as Phi Phi and Phuket. Bangkok is a fascinating, diverse and modern capital, whilst cities such as Pattaya are popular with overseas property buyers.

Stability: Thailand’s political instability has been highlighted by the Western press, as have occasional incidents involving Western backpackers and tourists. In general, however, Thailand is as safe as any Western country, but it is best to seek guidance when looking to invest in property in the country as there are plenty of property “sharks” (just as there are in most parts of the world!). In terms of property prices, the market in Thailand can be said to be relatively stable, especially in the big cities, where luxury condo developments are popular and secure investments.

Featured property: this 3-bedroomed townhouse in Koh Samui, another of Thailand’s tropical island paradises, is part of a complex, which includes bar / restaurant, gym, and 24-hour front desk.

Dominican Republic

The Market: Another tropical paradise, albeit on the other side of the world, the Dominican Republic is traditionally popular with the US market, but attracts many French, Spanish, and British buyers too.  Tourism is booming on the island, with the number of visitors increasing to by 10% in 2015 from 5.14 visitors the previous year. This means that property prices are increasing steeply, but ambitious buyers may still be able to find excellent deals. More and more developments are springing up, which means potential buyers will have to have their wits about them to separate the good from the bad.

Where to buy? Tourists in the Dominican Republic do not tend to linger long in the country’s capital Santo Domingo, although high end residential properties are popular there. The highway that has recently been built across the country has made parts of the island, such as Las Terrenas in the Samana region and Punta Cana more accessible, and it is also becoming easier to fly direct to these parts. Boca Chica, Puerto Plata and Cabarete are also “up and coming”.

Stability: There is still quite a discrepancy in terms of wealth between many local Dominicans and wealthy tourists, but there is a good chance that conditions will improve. The Dominican government are greatly in favour of foreign investment and offer strong incentives for buyers, such as exemption from property tax. Property prices are currently cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean, which potentially means that stabilisation is coming. Cash payments are common, and the Dominican Republic is in the midst of an economic recovery. The island is probably one of the less stable countries on our list in terms of the investment climate. Property development is generally targeted at the higher end of the market, but there is a lack of affordable housing at the low-to middle income end of the market.

Featured property: This Caribbean Villa is built in traditional Dominican style and is just a few minutes’ walk to the beach. It’s open plan design and pool are stand out features.

Greece

The Market: Greece’s problems have been well documented since the financial crash, and the property market in the country has been affected. However, the country is staging a recovery – the economy is expected to grow by nearly 3% this year, and the fact that Greek residential property has fallen in price by 42% since 2008 suggests that, for the risk-on investor, there are plenty of bargains to be had. Others might want to play the wait-and-see game.

Where to buy? Most will be looking at the Greek islands; Mykonos, Zakynthos, Santorini, Crete, Kefalonia – the list goes on and on! Overseas property buyers could spend years exploring the islands until they find their perfect location. In fact, this is not such a bad idea!

Stability: perhaps it would be best to urge caution, but that said, the overseas property market in Greece has been around for a long time, and given the stunning locations and luxurious lifestyle on offer, Greece still has plenty to offer the property investor. Market values have dropped significantly and we would urge anybody looking to invest to take as much advice as possible (this goes for all locations but perhaps especially Greece) as the situation is beyond complex and a thorough understanding of the market is a distinct advantage.

Featured property; at the high end of the market, this incredible 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom in Kefalonia with sandy beaches a 5 minute drive away seems to tick most of the boxes.

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