Anticipation of end-of-year bonuses has resulted in a 23% surge in interest in international property as confidence returns against a backdrop of improved global economic prospects, it is claimed.
The Primelocation International Search Index recorded more than 1.8 million foreign property searches in December and an annual increase of more than 200%. Spain and Turkey saw the highest monthly rises of 48% and 36% respectively.
Agents have reported an increase in bankers looking to invest their bonuses in international property in the more traditional locations towards the end of the year and in January. However, people are looking for smaller properties, the research also shows. But the trend of City workers seeking lower tax environments abroad continues.
Interest in the United Arab Emirates has dropped off substantially, with property searches down 9% annually in December and 12% on the previous month, causing the country to slip from sixth to seventh place in the ranking. This dampening of interest can be attributed to Dubai’s much-publicised financial difficulties, relating to the Dubai World debt.
‘Anticipation of banker bonuses has driven a recent spike in searches for overseas property, with many potential buyers looking at the traditional and generally more stable locations. However, purchases are lower key than in previous years as the bonus backlash continues,’ explained Ann Wright, International Development Manager of Primelocation International.
‘Dissatisfaction among City workers with the way in which the Government is handling the income tax, regulation and bonus situation is also continuing to fuel searches for property in more hospitable tax environments,’ she added.
The outlook for 2010 is positive. ‘The overwhelming choice of international property as an investment is encouraging, indicating a renewed consumer confidence in the foreign markets. With the economy now out of recession, a fall in unemployment and house price indices showing an upward trend, we may be able to look forward to a steady recovery over the course of 2010,’ concluded Wright.