News: France and Spain still investors' favourites

France and Spain are still the most popular choices for UK investors buying property abroad, according to research from foreign currency specialist HiFX.

HiFX report further increases in demand in French and Spanish property markets from UK investors in March, with the two countries accounting for 43 per cent of its currency transactions for buying property abroad for the month.

HiFX claims that this is because the majority of British overseas property buyers are 'traditionalists' who see their overseas purchase either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to.  Cheap flights, the ease of renting out properties, a well-established expat community and the simplicity of escaping to the sun are other key factors influencing the purchases of this group.  As a result France, Spain and other destinations close to the UK tend to be favoured.

HIFX's research also confirmed that more people overall are now looking abroad for investment opportunities.

Adventurers and hotspot investors

Whilst most UK overseas property investors are 'traditionalists', a significant minority are more adventurous in their choices and look to buy property further afield.  Despite dropping to 10.6% of all enquiries in March, Australia still accounted for a large share of investor interest overall coming in as the third most popular place to buy a second home.

Interest in Canadian mountain resorts rose by 66% during the month although the country still only represents 2% of enquiries overall.

The UK is seeing an increasing number of 'hot spot investors' interested for property purely for financial purposes.  This group is the most flexible of the three and are constantly chasing the latest hotspots and emerging markets.

Bulgaria came in fourth in HIFX's Global Property Hotspots league for March representing 9.4% of all enquiries.  Property prices in the country are expected to rocket even more quickly than at present after Bulgaria joins the European Union in 2007.

You pays your money and you takes your risks

Each group of buyers face their own risks.  Traditionalists can be hit by higher prices, adventurers take on unproven markets and hotspot chasers are at the mercy of changing fads or sudden market fluctuations.

Mark Bodega, marketing director at HIFX, said: 'People buy abroad for many different reasons. For some people it's an emotional decision based on a life-long dream, for others it's an exciting step into the unknown and for some it's simply a financial investment.'

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