Our data is showing that far from curbing ambitions of buying property in Europe, the challenges of the last few years have prompted even more people to take action. In addition, the lifting of remaining travel restrictions means that more people are now able to plan viewing trips to buy in Europe.
A major trend coming out of the pandemic is the growth of remote working (from anywhere, including overseas), which has allowed far more people to move abroad, and maintain their existing jobs. This is impacting the types of overseas buyer we’re seeing, with a definite shift to more younger people making the move overseas and embracing the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle. Because they are staying for longer stints of time, this is opening up more remote and often cheaper locations further from airports.
European countries are responding to these market trends. Despite Brexit making longer trips slightly more challenging, in Spain for example (where it is now only possible to stay for 90 days in a 180 day period without a visa), the Spanish government is planning to launch a new digital nomad visa, which will allow non-EU citizens to work for non-Spanish companies without needing to apply for a full work visa.
In Spain, we are seeing ‘digital nomad hotspots’ growing in popularity - areas that offer good broadband coverage, lower average cost of living and great facilities, services and attractions. Some of the best places in Spain to be a digital nomad include Cullera, a vibrant beach resort on the Costa Blanca just 30 minutes from Valencia, Tarifa, a laid-back surf paradise in the Cadiz region of Andalucia, and the university town of Valladolid in Castile Leon, which is one of the cheaper regions in Spain to buy property. With cheaper prices and a growing demographic, it’s worth considering upcoming areas as well as the well-known spots in Spain and across Europe.
When interest in the European market is highest
Property prices tend to be slightly cheaper in Europe compared to the UK, and the market is less competitive, so it can make an attractive option for UK buyers and investors. The average (median) price of Spanish properties for sale on Kyero.com during the last three months of 2021 was €292,200, in Portugal it was €245,000, in France €241,000 and in Italy €198,000 - all below the British average of £270,708 (according to the UK House Price Index for November 2021).
Enquiries were up in all four of the key European markets (Spain, Portugal, France and Italy) during the fourth quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2020. In Spain, Kyero’s largest market, property enquiries were up 28% year-on-year while in Portugal they were up 48%. Buying in Europe remains a good investment if you choose a desirable property and area.
There are some key times of the year for interest in European property to surge. Based on analysis of over 91 million visits to Kyero.com over the last five years, searching for an overseas home in Europe peaks in late February and late August.
February is often a time of optimism and planning after the winter, with many people fed up with the short days and poor weather while August’s interest picks up after many people have come back from summer holidays and wish they were still abroad. Throughout the year, Sundays are the most popular day for European house hunting with people using their weekends to dream and make plans for a life in the sun.
What’s different about buying in Europe?
If you are considering investing in Europe, it’s worth noting that the buying process varies slightly from country to country. Wherever you are looking, finding a local estate agent can be invaluable when it comes to viewing properties. We have relationships with around 8,000 agents in Europe, and Kyero can help connect buyers and estate agents overseas
A reputable and professional lawyer is priceless, and generally, we recommend working with a lawyer in the country you are buying in, or you can find lawyers with offices in multiple countries. Finding legal advice from a lawyer who is trained in the legal system for the country you are buying in will help you navigate the system.
When planning your purchase, don’t underestimate the costs of agent fees, legal fees, land registry fees, notary fees and taxes associated with international property purchases. These can differ significantly from the UK market, and make sure your budget includes exchange rates and other international fees.
*Martin Dell is the co-founder of Kyero, a property portal for sales and long term rentals in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy