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Brits continue looking for place in Spanish sun

4th November 2005 | back to article listings BACK    print this article PRINT

A new report has revealed that the massive interest in second homes abroad among British people is set to continue.

According to research carried out by Barclays, the number of British homeowners with properties abroad is set to double over the coming years, as people look to flee from the UK during the cold winter months.

Spain topped the poll by Barclays of the place that most people would want to purchase a property, with 30 per cent of the vote. France came in third, with 14 per cent of the vote, with both scoring highly because of their cheap housing prices compared to the UK at present.

The UK's continued price inflation may have started to slow, resulting in a significant cooling of the housing market, but prices have not fallen low enough for many people, resulting in millions preferring properties abroad over ones in the UK as ideal second home destinations.

Destinations such as France and Spain remain popular with those from the UK looking to invest in properties abroad, due to the fact that they see them as ideal destinations for winter breaks to get away for a short period to top up on some sun instead of the long dark nights of British winter. And with predictions that this winter could be the coldest for ten years, more people than ever are now interested in purchasing a second home abroad.

Barclays found that, while 2.2 million people currently own properties abroad, there are just as many people in the UK who are definitely intending to buy a second home in a foreign country in the future. That would raise the proportion of UK citizens owning a second home to ten per cent of the country's population.

But even that could dramatically rise in the years to come, as the survey also found a further 37 per cent of those polled are currently considering purchasing a property abroad. That would result in a mass exodus, with millions leaving these shores every year to invest in overseas properties, both as second homes and as property investments.

Many people are inspired by property programmes such as Channel 4's A Place in the Sun, which tracks people purchasing property in foreign climes, because of the investment opportunities explained in such programmes.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Barclays head of European business development Suzanne Clay said: "The trend towards owning property abroad shows no sign of abating and could go through the roof if people were more confident of a hassle-free purchase."

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