Brit would-be expats urged to tread carefully on property purchase

Published:  6 Jul at 6 PM
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European properties are now in high demand by British buyers hoping to become expats before Brexit hits the already damaged UK economy.

According to online property agents, searches for both remote, waterfront and beachfront properties have soared since the UK’s coronavirus shutdown, focusing mainly on Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Unsurprisingly, Spain is the most popular destination, with over a million hits on favourite website Rightmove. Inquiries totalled 49 per cent over last year’s totals and are now at record-breaking levels.

Online realtors believe the increase is due to the recent lifting of overseas travel restrictions, with the majority of enquiries based on either relocating permanently as well as a desire for a holiday home. Inquiries on Spanish properties rose by 25 per cent, interest in French homes soared to 32 per cent over last year’s figures, demand for Portuguese property increased by 24 per cent and Italian villas created 17 per cent more interest than during the past year.

Although the more upscale online property agents believe a good number of searches represented a combination of wishful thinking, lockdown boredom and a desire to see how the other half lives, enough UK netizens are making wish lists to suggest the trend may show increased numbers of Brits simply can’t wait to become expats.

However, those looking to take the chance should realise there’s more to living overseas than just a dream home. Tax issues, bureaucratic paperwork, exchange rate shifts, available mortgages and avoidance of fast-talking developers with their hard-sell techniques are all pitfalls for the unwary and can wreck British would-be expats’ best-laid plans.
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