Which country gives the best returns for expat property investors

Published:  14 Oct at 6 PM
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The international real estate sector has traditionally been a favourite with expat property investors, but it’s anyone’s guess which locations will perform best over the long term.

Over the past year, the UK housing market has seen soaring gains, with many expat investors eager to cash in on buy-to-let opportunities before they are priced out of the market. As the year draws to a close, many are finding they can’t afford properties in areas already saturated with foreign buyers, and are looking overseas to find the next hotspot.

According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, the UK property market showed the third highest annual price hike of all the EU member states. Estonia led the field with an impressive 14.5 percent increase, followed by Ireland with 12.5 per cent and the UK’s 10.2 per cent.

However, France and Spain, once the darlings of expat property investors looking to renovate and generate high returns, saw a fall of 1.1 per cent and a rise of 0.8 per cent respectively in spite of their popularity with expat retirees. The minuscule rise in Spanish property prices was the first since 2008, and both countries’ property price indexes suffered heavy falls during the past five years.

French property is still considered by experts as being overvalued by around 30 per cent, good news for investors who can afford to wait a while before taking the plunge. At present, French mortgage rates are far cheaper for British purchasers than in previous years, and the country still attracts a good number of retirees and holidaymakers.

Although no data is available for Greece, Austria, Germany and Poland, other states with falling house prices include Italy and Cyprus and, for the adventurous investor, Slovenia’s property index crashed by a further 10 per cent last year.
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