Emigrating abroad has always been a popular choice for Brits wanting to relocate to sunnier climes for a better quality of life. But, as the UK eases out of lockdown in a phased three-step plan, many things have been left rather open-ended, with still more questions than answers regarding the post-Covid-19 world.
Now Property Guides, a Hammersmith-based overseas property buying resource, focused on helping people buy homes abroad in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, has said there is no time like the present for Brits to start looking for their dream overseas home.
The platform’s research shows that every month in the UK an average of 9.9 thousand people are searching for topics related to emigrating. Over the past 90 days, Property Guides has analysed search trends displaying weekly spikes in April for the term ‘move abroad’.
Christopher Nye, senior editor at Property Guides, has shared his expertise on why now is a good time for Brits to be looking at the overseas property market.
“Among the sectors taking the biggest hits from the global Covid-19 crisis are the tourism, hospitality and travel industries,” he said. “Allied to these is property, both on resorts where no-one is currently flying to, and in cities where businesses are shuttered and offices are empty.”
“So, with travel restrictions, recession and every country hunkering down, this will be the worst time to buy a residential property abroad, right?”
Not necessarily, Nye says. “Consider these factors. Our favourite overseas destinations locked down early and strongly and are already coming out of the other side. Countries like Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Malta are FAR less affected than Italy, Spain or the UK. But even in badly-affected countries, areas like Sicily, the Balearics and Canary Islands are almost virus-free. By summer they could virtually be back to normal.”
He argues that property prices are likely to be down, but not for long. “While some analysts are predicting a shock to the system similar to the global financial crisis (where prices in Greece and Spain fell by 40%) others predict around a 1-4% drop in the next year. Either way, prices are almost bound to drop, but they were already at rock bottom in places like Greece and Italy,” he explained.
He also points to the fact that the property market is working well again. “Most estate agents, lawyers and other professionals are back at work.
It may be hard to imagine the fleshpots of Magaluf or Ayia Napa at full capacity this summer, but travelling over to view a few empty properties is a very different proposition. You can also get all your research done online, and even purchase without flying there. Many agents and portals are experimenting with ‘virtual’ viewings, including Rightmove.”
Nye also says Brexit will be a factor in encouraging people to act now. “The Brexit transition period is still due to end on December 31. Many think it may be delayed, but by no more than a few months,” he argued.
“Anyone wanting to retain their current EU rights to residence, healthcare and pensions in Spain, France and other EU countries will need to be resident by then. So as soon as you can fly, this summer will be a great time to retire to the sun and buy a bargain property abroad.”
The article was first published on www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk