Could overseas property be more attractive to UK purchasers in 2016?

Could overseas property be more attractive to UK purchasers in 2016?

With the UK buy-to-let market becoming more costly in April because of the UK Government’s proposed tax increases, overseas property and mortgage specialist Simon Conn believes buyers could be considering more seriously other international destinations in 2016.

The most popular places to buy abroad from the enquiries he received last year were Spain, France, USA, Portugal, Ireland and Italy. Interest has been growing in South Africa, although there are not many mortgages available, and Greece and Cyprus were also popular.


Spain has taken France’s crown as the number one destination for buyers. Spain is a very popular holiday destination and when people are staying there, they often think about purchasing, instead of renting or staying in a local hotel. Loan-to-value rates are now up to 70%. Just a word of warning to be careful what you are buying -  as the number of agents/developers in the market has increased dramatically, please ensure you carry out due diligence, including looking into their past experience and recent sales (for example, quality of build, delivery times etc).


Despite slipping to second place, France is still buoyant. Buyers are taking advantage of very low interest rates and mortgages are still available up to 80-85% loan to value. Before the recession, only the more expensive areas were popular, but currently all regions are now of interest.


The USA has hung onto third place in the popularity stakes for the second year running. Enquiries for higher priced properties continue, usually in the $500,000 and above price bracket. New York, Florida and California continue to be the most popular places.


Like Spain, Portugal has also seen an increase in the number of agents operating. There are higher loan-to-value mortgages available up to 80% loan-to-value. People have recognised the quality of the build, the lower density of properties in the surrounding area and the potential value for money.


Italy is still busy, with interest rates remaining low. However, the maximum loan-to-value rate is now 60%, having been at 60-70% last year.

Greece and Cyprus

There is still no lending available in Greece via Simon’s lending sources, unless the property is valued at €1million or above. It is good news however, that lending in Cyprus has now returned, with loan-to-value rates of between 60-70% and a minimum loan of €50,000. Please still be careful about local legal and title issues though.

South Africa

South Africa is very popular, even though there are concerns regarding the economy and civil unrest. Lending is still very restrictive, with only 50% loan-to-value if you are a non-South African national, or 70% if you are a South African expat. Interest rates are around 9.50-9.75% and mortgages are still only available in Rand.


With its low priced properties, buyers are still enquiring about Turkey. Interest has waned in the last year, probably due to the troubles nearby, and therefore people have become more attracted to Western Europe.

Other countries where there is some interest include:

Australia and New Zealand

Both countries are popular for retirement and long term investment.


More people seem to be going back to look at Dubai now, but there is still a glut of rental properties leading to lower rental returns. Purchasers are buying mainly for holiday, retirement and work purposes. Lending is restrictive and you may have trouble financing some developments, as banks may not lend on those properties.


No specific island is showing any particular interest and the Caribbean seems to be more attractive to North America and Canada clients rather than Brits. Restrictive lending is in place in certain Islands.


There is less interest in Thailand and, similarly to the Caribbean, lending is restrictive. If you are a foreigner, you can only buy a condominium or apartment and are not permitted to buy land or houses.

Also worth a mention are Canada and Switzerland, which are popular with ski enthusiasts and for holiday homes. There is also interest in Canada for retirement properties.

Holland has a lot of interest from expats for future retirement and also work-related purchases.

In Eastern Europe, the more popular countries for non-UK buyers are Hungary, Poland, Croatia and Czech Republic. Properties are low priced, but lending is restrictive.

Simon’s top tip for 2016 is Germany, where interest is increasing, particularly for investment purposes in large cities. There are signs more lenders are coming to the market for foreign investment.

Be aware that if you are looking to buy abroad for investment purposes, the majority of lenders do not take into account rental income.  

Mortgages are based on affordability, your whole overall financial/credit record and, of course, the valuation of the property.

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Latest Comments

daniel black
daniel black 25 Oct 2016

I've been keeping a close eye on what the effect of Brexit has been on the rental market and it's a very mixed bag. Whilst the majority of the news focuses on London's market. I think this time next year...

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Northerner 20 Oct 2016

Any views from outside the M25? No wonder politicians can't get the housing big picture when everyone seems to think that London is the yard stick, when it absolutely is not.

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Sean Lees
Sean Lees 13 Oct 2016

I think that the pest control really depends on the situation. If the tenant moved in and found an infestation that needs pest treatment service, I think it's more reasonable that the landlord should pay...

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Kevin 13 Oct 2016

Please Sian Berry Dan Wilson Craw LANDLORDS DO NOT WANT TO RAISE RENTS They are being forced to because of Section 24! An unfair, punitive tax hike that will be a disaster Green Party, Generstion...

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Fletcher88 11 Oct 2016

Absolutely agree! Moreover property prices edged up with 0.7% this month as the market recovered from the initial Brexit hit

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Gary Das
Gary Das 06 Oct 2016

A lot of lenders (especially the high-street banks and lenders people approach first) could do more to accommodate for the self-employed. It can really be a struggle, as I found out myself last year when...

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richardrawlings 04 Oct 2016

Not sure I understand this! If Basildon and Hemel rose 68% and 52% respectively, why do they not appear in the top ten list, which appears only to feature those in the minus 20's!! Is it me?

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luxus 27 Sep 2016

It can be stressful. More clarity is needed on the process, from a customer perspective and consideration should be given to using the Scandinavian model where the sales process is much quicker.

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Melissa_Green 26 Sep 2016

Green belts are normally designated around capitals and other major cities and conurbations and their aim is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. The essential characteristics of green...

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Jimmy_McCoy 16 Sep 2016

I think that the main reason to buy garden purchases in last minute is because people always search for the best deal. In summer months there are abundance of seasonal goods and it means more low cost

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Jimmy_McCoy 16 Sep 2016

Buying a home often is more expensive than you expect. There are lots of hidden costs such as: stamp duty, surveys and valuations, mortgages etc. that can add more than 10% to the total bill

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Homebuyerconveyancing 15 Sep 2016

We are seeing a massive influx of Homebuyers using online Estate Agents. The winners are the online portals that still aim to manage the customer journey to homeownership. They provide a valuation service,...

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