Foreign property buyers seeking out bargains

Cyprus returns as top choice for UK investors

Cyprus is regaining its appeal as a target for UK buyers looking for a home in warmer climes with Spain and Turkey also gaining interest, according to a new survey.

In contrast, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have seen declines in interest from potential purchasers, reflecting the weakness of sterling against those currencies, the survey from forex expert Smart Currency Exchange shows.

‘The results are fairly logical with bargain hunters moving in to some places while avoiding or delaying moves to places where sterling has been hit hardest,’ said Charles Purdy, director of Smart Currency exchange.

‘Cyprus stands out because we saw a doubling in interest from potential buyers compared to last year. There are bargains to be had, ironically as a result of other expats moving back and putting homes on at a big discount,’ he explained.

‘Going forward, there will be a positive effect from the European Union forcing the Cyprus government to change a law restricting non-Cypriot estate agents from operating in the country that put off many buyers. There is an issue around deeds and we would advise against buying in Cyprus unless title deeds have been issued,’ he added.

He said that Spain had seen a rise in buyer interest, with Turkey also seeing a sharp rise but from a lower base. France, Portugal, the USA and the Caribbean were unchanged on last year.

The figures showed 42% of the respondees were looking to buy within a year and two thirds within two years.

Nearly half, 48%, were aiming to buy a holiday home, nearly a quarter each for retirement or emigration purposes. Only 7% were considering buying for investment.

‘The dream of living abroad may have taken a knock but is still very much alive. Anyone thinking of buying overseas needs to go in with their eyes open and doing as much research as possible into the property purchase system and also into intelligent currency strategies that can help cut the cost and remove risk from cross-border transactions,’ said Purdy.

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