Many a British visitor to Europe has experienced a double-take moment after taking a casual glance in an estate agent’s window and many a British visitor has made an impulse buy as a result.
After all, what’s not to like, especially when you consider the three countries that we’re looking at here: space, culture, outstanding local cuisine, gorgeous beaches, sunshine and affordable property. You are literally spoilt for choice, Spain, Portugal and France are big countries and choosing where to invest in property is no simple matter.
It’s not a matter of finding that one property that’s best for you because across the three countries there will be hundreds of thousands of property which would make a great purchase but there are also plenty which you would be well-advised to avoid.
So, let’s take a little bit of a closer look at the situation in these three countries.
There are plenty of people who will tell you that Portugal is quite simply the best place to live in the world and this is perhaps born out by the vibrant property market. The coastal capital, Lisbon is one of Europe’s property hot spots. The city has seen a steady increase in property prices in the past few years and there’s no sign of any slowdown yet.
Easily accessible by plane the seven-hilled city is full of charm and has undergone extensive restoration to its ancient centre. Wonderfully warm all year and with easy access to some of the best beaches in Europe it’s become a popular destination with digital nomads. If you are looking to invest in rental property, returns from city properties are excellent and are likely to rise.
The ancient towns and cities north of Lisbon are also starting to attract a lot of attention from foreign buyers. Particularly appealing is the beautiful city of Porto, famous for its port wine and beautiful bridges and like Lisbon, easy to access by air.
Despite Brexit, brits are still the main foreign purchasers in Spain, attracted by the sun, sea, nightlife and affordable property. When the global financial crisis hit ten years ago, Spain’s property prices crashed by 30% and they are only just starting to recover. Like Portugal, Spain offers foreign buyers who invest more than 500,000 Euros in property, a ‘golden’ visa so British buyers don’t have to worry about no longer being members of the E.U.
Buying property in Spain can be a little tricky, so you need to ensure that everything is above board before you go ahead. Be aware that outstanding debt remains attached to the property and becomes the responsibility of the new owner.
Alicante on the southeastern coastline has long been a favourite starting point for British buyers as of course are the beaches of the Costa del Sol and the golf courses of the Costa Blanca. For a real bargain head inland to Murcia, but you’ll need to be prepared for serious heat.
House prices in France continue their modest growth, which is predicted to continue into 2020. If you dream of that impossibly picturesque old house, covered in vines and with acres of land, you’ll find plenty of them in France because the French simply don’t want them.
Offering a more temperate climate than Spain or Portugal, France has so many beautiful and diverse areas in which to settle. If it’s skiing, you’re after you’ll be heading for the Mont Blanc Valley and if you don’t want to be too far from the UK you should look at Brittany, where you’ll never be more than forty miles from the coast.
For most British buyers though, the Dordogne still exerts a strong pull, fabulously beautiful and served by four airports, if you throw a baguette, you’re bound to hit an ex-pat.