More interest in buying overseas properties

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UK properties favored by buyers

Interest in buying property overseas has now tipped the balance versus that of  property in the UK, with 67% of respondents saying it is a good time to make a foreign investment and 65% actually considering doing so, a new survey shows.

Countries which generated the most responses were the United States, Turkey and Portugal, the research from Oxfordshire based property investment company, the Worldwide Property Group, shows.

‘It’s hardly surprising that investors are looking beyond the UK for places to invest. Many overseas regions are providing very strong potential returns, the USA being a prime example,’ said Kevin Wilkes, managing director of the Worldwide Property Group.

‘The UK has always been a great place in which to invest in property, and will continue to be so.  But with some incredible potential for property investment overseas mixed with increasing ease of purchasing a foreign property, people are finding they have much greater choice, and the UK now has some strong competition,’ he explained.

‘Whilst respondents’ interests have slightly shifted this month to overseas, confidence in property as an overall investment still remains high with 67% of respondents opting for it as the best investment over gold, shares, currency and savings. It’s also great to see respondents considering new counties to invest and achieve a great return,’ he added.

Meanwhile, British buyers looking for property in Spain can now request a land registry certificate from the local town hall at a cost of £29. The move has been introduced to inject more transparency into the real estate system which has suffered from case of illegal properties being built during the boom years.

The certificate should show whether there are or have been any legal proceedings against the property, such as proceedings which may result in fines or demolition. If town halls fail to provide this information they will be held responsible for economic damages affecting third parties who bought in good faith.

‘I welcome these initiatives. Communicating essential information in English, combined with the measures announced in the decree, should help to ensure buyers are accurately informed of any legal issues connected with a property,’ said HM Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman, who has taken up the issue of illegal properties with the Spanish authorities.

‘However these measures will not, of course, do anything to help existing home owners who have been experiencing issues with their properties. We will continue to work with the Spanish authorities to ensure these problems are addressed,’ he added.

Anyone currently with an illegally built property will also find that the land registry will recognize the existence of these homes, providing they were bought in good faith. It will still be regarded as illegal but protected from demolition providing it has been standing for four or more years and has not been built on a flood plain or on protected land.

At the height of the Spanish property boom unscrupulous developers used lax planning by local town halls to build illegally and bribes were often paid to officials. The practice has now been stamped out but the status of many properties is still unclear, rendering them unsaleable.

Developers are now obliged to obtain their license of first occupation, a construction license and a technical certificate which states that the property corresponds to the plans for which the license was granted.

There are believed to be anything up to 300,000 properties in Andalucía, the region worst hit by the scams, that have been deemed illegal and many of them are owned by Britons who bought in good faith.

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