News: USA challenges Spain as Brits' favourite

The US is rivaling Spain as the favourite place for Brits to buy property abroad according to new research.

Startling new research by A Place in the Sun Live in association with Barclays has seen the USA become the UK's second favourite place to buy property abroad.  The bi-annual survey confirms that Spain is still the number one destination with France returning to third place and Australia beating Italy and New Zealand into fourth position.

A new survey by Banco Halifax Hispania - the Spanish arm of Halifax, the UK's largest mortgage lender - has also confirmed the popularity of America with Brits.  When asked where they would most like to live overseas, Britons ranked America joint with Australia in the top spot with 9%.  Again Spain was most popular within Europe with 6% of people wanting to move there.

Where Britons Would Most Like To Live Overseas

 Rank CountryNumber of people (%) 
 1= America 9
 1= Australia 9
 3 Spain 6
 4 Caribbean 5
 5= New Zealand 4
 5= Canada 4

Banco Halifax Hispania found that almost one third of Britons (29%) are currently interested in buying property abroad or moving abroad.

UK households already invest over £23 billion in second homes abroad, according to the National Statistics Office Social Trends 2006 survey.

A place in the sun for the family

When asked what best describes their reason for buying a property abroad, the A Place in the Sun Live study found that it’s families that come first with almost a quarter (22%) of Brits looking for a safe and reliable haven for holidays with the children (‘Family Sun Seekers’).

Other motivations for buying abroad revealed in the study included:

  • 'Reward Reapers' - A fifth of us (20%) buy overseas property as a retirement home
  • ‘Lifestyle Luvvies’ - 16% want to expand their social horizons with a second home abroad for leisurely long weekends entertaining partners and friends
  • 'Life Changers' - Nearly a tenth of Brits (8%) leave the UK behind for a new life abroad

The study found that Brits tend to be emotional investors when buying property abroad with only 3% of people classing themselves as ‘Property Tycoon Wannabes’.  However, the ‘Jet-To-Let’ generation is just starting to take off, with 2% of people particularly in London and the South West wanting to buy to let abroad as they can’t afford to get on the property ladder at home.

Whatever our reason for buying abroad, size definitely matters! Nearly a quarter (21%) are buying big, not content with a one or two bedroom apartment, they are looking for the palatial luxury of supersized villas with four bedrooms or more. In fact over a third (39%) of Brits wouldn’t look at anything less than a three-bedroom villa.

However, cautious Brits are not put off by language barriers (9%), lack of time (9%) or even lack of local knowledge (17%) they are just unsure how to finance their dream (43%) and are concerned about the possible legal, tax and pension implications.

The third 'A Place in the Sun Live in association with Barclays' takes place this weekend at ExCeL London from 7th to 9th April 2006.

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