British appetite for home in sun is insatiable

16th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2005, LONDON — The British appetite for a place in the sun is insatiable, according to statistics which reveal that more and more people are investing in property abroad.

16 June 2005

LONDON — The British appetite for a place in the sun is insatiable, according to statistics which reveal that more and more people are investing in property abroad.

Most are not only buying and enjoying their homes abroad –they are making money on them too.

Last year, the value of property owned by Britons in countries as diverse as Spain, India, New Zealand and South Africa was EUR 34 billion, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Four years ago, that figure was just EUR 16.6 bn, according to an analysis carried out by the British Office for National Statistics.

Most are not only buying and enjoying their homes abroad –they are making money on them too.

Spain remained the favourite place to buy. In 1994-95, 27,913 people bought second homes here, while the figure more than doubled to 62,000, by 2003-04.

France was second favourite. In 1994-95, 21,160 bought homes, rising to 47,000 in 2003-04.

The figures reflect not only the growing number of Britons who are investing abroad, but also the growth in the value of properties.

"I have never really known property prices abroad go down," said Naomi Greatbanks, a specialist in foreign property investment for Savills.

"I don't think I know of a single client who has lost money. In places such as France, Italy and Spain, property buying is tried and tested, flights are a maximum two and a half hours and the British feel comfortable living in these countries.

"The most ordinary person who years ago would think himself lucky to buy his own home here can now consider a second home abroad."

The boom in foreign property ownership has been fuelled by low interest rates and soaring house prices in Britain.

Cheap mortgages and the ability to unlock equity from the main home has made a place in the sun increasingly affordable.

The statistics show that in the year 2003 to 2004, the British owned 256,609 properties abroad.

In the year 1999 to 2000, more than 176,000 people owned a property abroad.

Spain, predictably, is the most popular place for the British to buy a second home. Nearly 70,000 homes here are owned by Britons, accounting for 27 per cent of the total in number and nearly a third in value.

France is also popular, with 51,322 properties owned by people from the UK, collectively worth EUR 8.4bn, followed by Portugal and Italy where 5,132 and 2,566 homes are owned respectively.

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Subject: Spanish news

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