Could Buying Abroad be the Best Way to get on the Property Ladder

October 16, 2013 No Comments

For many first time buyers it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get on the UK property ladder. Huge deposits and soaring house prices mean strenuous financial demands that many first time buyers simply can’t afford.

The best way to get yourself on the first rung could be to think outside the box, or rather outside the country. An increasing amount of first-time buyers are looking to travel agents as well as estate agents and considering a home overseas. But how viable an option is buying abroad? Here are some points to consider.

More for Your Money

A browse of online estate agents in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece can reveal just how much more your money could get you abroad. Taking a look at prices in these countries can be an interesting exercise in assessing your property options whether you’re seriously thinking of taking the leap or are just curious. The property markets of many European countries have been hit hard by the recession and prices reflect this.

Consider additional costs

Whilst browsing the sites of foreign estate agents might reveal some impressive alternatives to buying in the UK, it is important to consider additional costs such as tax. Property taxes vary from country to country and the figures have been rising in many parts of the Eurozone. Find out about current levels and whether they are set to rise for more accurate insight into how much a property is going to cost you. The complete bundle of buying costs is also important to consider. These could potentially add on 10% or more depending on the country.

Consider Economic Stability

Whilst countries that have been hit hardest by the recession might currently be the places to find impressively cheap property prices, buyers should assess the risks attached to any potential investment. If austerity measures are taking a severe toll and house prices are still in decline – for example, in countries such as Greece – then it may be prudent to wait until the situation has stabilised to consider buying, even if this means paying a bit more. The country’s currency is also an important thing to consider. If there is any sign that they might leave the Eurozone then investment could be risky.

Getting Serious

If you have done your research and decide that buying abroad is a viable option then getting to know the area in which you would like to buy is hugely important. Visit and meet with estate agents to get an inside understanding of the local property market. It can be a good idea to watch prices over a period of time to see how much they fluctuate in that particular region. Visiting for prolonged periods and regularly will also give you a clear sense of whether the area is indeed somewhere you would like to own property. Aspects such as a strong ex-pat community and employment opportunities will help you decided whether you could indeed settle in this location.

Buying abroad could be a wise move for people who want to get on the property ladder but can’t afford to do so in the UK. Calculating true costs and assessing potential risks are hugely important so commit yourself to in depth research before you make any decisions.

Imogen Allen is a freelance journalist who writes for a number of websites on travel and lifestyle. She has a special interest in providing ex-pat information for various countries in Europe.

Images by 401(K) 2012 and Keith Williamson, used under Creative Comms license

European Property News, Global Property Data, Home, International Property, Investment Opportunities

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