Despite the state of the economy in the UK and the bleak economic future facing the vast majority of us at least in the near-term, there remains an almost insatiable desire amongst Britons to own a home abroad.
Is it snobbery, consumerism gone mad, the ultimate dream or sound investment logic driving still increasing numbers of Britons to actively contemplate a second home purchase overseas? Whatever the reason, there are more and more of us seeking to join the estimated 500,000 who already own homes abroad apparently.
But there are new worries affecting would-be property purchasers, and these include concerns about carbon footprints and also the low cost carriers who have made some previously hard to access destinations appealing to buyers.
The further flung a destination is, the harder it can naturally be to get to. Take Brazil – currently being billed as the next big thing by many a developer and property journalist – well, depending on your connections and preferred airport it can take over 20 hours just to get to Natal airport from Heathrow. This is putting off many potential second home owners and investors, as is the fact that the further you fly, the more aviation fuel is required for the journey, therefore the larger the carbon footprint one is invariably creating.
Venezuela, the Caribbean, Mexico – all being promoted to British international property seekers, all difficult to get to involving long flight times, at least one transfer and a large carbon footprint. Whilst this may not overly concern those buying today for their retirement or buying today for the odd family holiday abroad, it is of concern to those looking for an investment property. They know that their potential client base is likely to be British, and even those Brits who are unconcerned about long flight times or who are unconcerned about the environmental damage caused by jetting round the world, are generally worried about the cost of travel nowadays. Which means potential tourist rental tenants are less likely to travel to a far-flung holiday home, rendering such a property much less profitable than some would have you believe. After all, airlines don’t seem to have passed on any of the reductions in oil prices to their ticket-buying customers do they?
So, with all hopes and dreams of a far-flung destination comprehensively dashed – where next for the intrepid British property buyer? Well, of those who already own a home abroad, almost 80% own one somewhere in Europe according to Savills. And because Europe is accessible – one can drive to it for example – the carbon footprint argument is less of a concern. However, with the likes of XL and Zoom having gone out of business and Ryanair and Easyjet cutting unprofitable routes, a whole new bag of worries face Britons looking abroad for a profitable property purchase opportunity.
Again according to Savills, owning a property abroad close to an airport serviced by a low cost carrier can add almost 40% to a home’s value…but if that airport then loses its low cost airlines, this can render a property unsellable. So the debate over destinations rages on apace, with the most savvy buyers also being the most well off who can afford to buy a property close to airports serviced by so called ‘blue chip’ international airlines. But there are gambles opening up all the time in terms of location as the likes of Ryanair announce new routes to places such as Salzburg, Lyon and Hurghada for example. A buyer just has to contemplate throwing caution to the wind and jumping in with both feet, (and with both eyes shut and all fingers crossed in some cases!)