Over five million British people live abroad, meaning a booming trade in overseas property. Although an enormous Tuscan farmhouse or stylish Californian condo might be the dream, this is out of reach of many people who want to own a property abroad. So where are the locations where you get the most bang for your buck? We look at some of the popular buying destinations for the lower budget buyer - and some of them might come as a shock.
A surprising first choice, perhaps, but property prices in France have been falling for the past few years. Combine this with a strong pound against the Euro, the tendency for French banks to lend long-term at low rates, and the dream of a French getaway pad could come into focus.
With around 200,000 British people owning property in France, it is the most popular country in the world for UK second-homers - and that figure increases year on year. It is also important to balance the costs of getting to your second home against the property price itself, and on this score the UK’s nearest continental neighbour is a winner.
The number of foreign buyers in Turkey rose 78% in 2013, indicating a real upturn in the Turkish economy. British buyers are second only in number to those from Russia. The Turkish coast is particularly popular, with UK buyers favouring the area around the harbour town of Kalkan - where you can pick up a one-bed flat for between ?£30,000 and ?£40,000.
Be aware however, that Turkish property prices are increasing at an incredible rate - this might be one of the last years where you can snap up a bargain.
Property prices in Croatia crashed recently, with a 14.4% drop between 2012 and 2013 that still hasn’t recovered. However the country is still one of Europe’s fastest growing tourist destinations, so don’t expect the bargains to be there forever. Look outside of Zagreb and down the coast for gems is less well-known towns.
Croatia’s recent EU membership is also driving up house prices, but if you are planning on letting your second home out to holidaymakers then tourist-friendly Croatia is definitely a country to consider.
Offering even better value for money than its near neighbour Croatia, Montenegro is an increasingly attractive option. For people buying on a budget but wanting the benefits of a sunny holiday home on the Adriatic it's a great solution. House prices are expected to rise dramatically as tourism increases - the World Travel and Tourism Council recently predicted that tourism numbers will grow faster in Montenegro than in any other country in the world.
Beautiful countryside and increasingly cosmopolitan cities mix with low property prices to make Poland an attractive option for a second home. The ancient city of Krakow is becoming a huge tourist destination, and regular budget flights heading directly there from UK airports make it an obvious choice for British people buying in Poland.
Property prices have been rising steadily since the country joined the EU in 2004, but it is still incredibly affordable, especially with a strong pound and the relatively low cost of living in Poland.
The second favourite country, after France, for Brits to buy abroad has had some PR problems in the last few years. Horror stories about retirees having their homes torn down or repossessed after unknowingly flouting local planning regulations have hit the headlines. And there has been a flood of British people moving back to the UK from Spain.
This has caused the property market to stagnate, especially in previously popular tourist areas on the south coast, and Spain offers a real buyer's market with huge bargains to be had.
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