France, Spain and the United States were the top search destination for would be overseas property buyers in the first three months of the year, according to the latest index from the Overseas Guides Company.
Its first quarter report shows that interest in overseas property amongst British people remains strongest in these three countries with France top with 22%, followed by Spain with 16% and the US with 15%.
The report also recorded a large overall increase in enquiries for buying abroad during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 and the same period last year.
Discounted prices, particularly in Spain and the US, could be one reason why these countries are proving popular, according to the company’s editor Richard Way.
He also pointed out that the current exchange rate is the most favourable it’s been for a year and a half for Brits exchanging pounds.
‘We are also seeing close to a six month high in the value of the pound against the dollar which could be responsible in part for driving the US property market,’ he added.
Prices are appealing. In Spain new two bedroom apartments close to the beach in Almeria are prices at less than £100,000 requiring just a £5,000 deposit. In a traditional four bedroom home in the Charente can be found for £90,000. In Florida there are four bedroom detached houses for around £43,000.
‘Despite the financial constraints of the last few years the Brits appetite for property investment overseas remains steadfast and despite the lure of financially appealing investments from every corner of the globe it is the old favourites’ of France, Spain and the USA that continue to appeal especially with the deals available today,’ said Way.
And it is not just the cheapest properties that are attracting British buyers. MGM French Properties has sold all but 18 of the 70 apartments it is building in Samoëns in the French Alps.
‘Growing numbers of Britons are opting for properties in locations like Samoëns where they can pursue a lifestyle which enables them to integrate with local people while enjoying good skiing as well as a huge variety of other activities throughout the year,’ said Richard Deans who heads the company’s London-based UK sales office.
‘For British buyers, a special appeal of Samoëns is the fact that it is only one hour from Geneva Airport by road, making it four hours door to door from London. Furthermore, the prices of the MGM apartments for sale in the town can be around 25% lower than those for comparable properties in big name resorts like Tignes and Chamonix,’ he added.
Even the upper end of the French market is still popular with British buyers according to John Stephenson of Knight Frank’s France, Monaco and The Alps team.
Provence is popular with a number of British expats who are living in Asia and seeking a European base outside the UK and in a warmer climate.
Les Alpilles and the Luberon have traditionally been the key focal points for international buyers, many of whom are tempted by the region’s medieval hilltop villages and the stunning backdrop of vineyards, lavender fields and the region’s Luberon mountain range.
But some lesser known villages such as Lourmarin and Cucuron are also seeing an increase in demand, as more international buyers consider them good value.