Falling European property prices forcing expats to return home

Published:  24 Dec at 6 PM
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A recent study has revealed that, for many expats in France and Spain, the dream has faded and returning home is the next step.

Results of the study, undertaken for forex firm HiFX, show that one in 10 Britons holding or living in overseas property are looking to sell up if possible. Almost 50 per cent of those planning to return to the UK have Spanish homes, with 25 per cent owning houses in France.

The two countries are the most popular for UK expats, both for the perceived charms of expat life and as hubs for second homes to escape the British winter. Spain is suffering from the eurocrisis, with property values still falling, and the new tax increases in France are causing homeowners to reconsider their positions.

Second-home owners in France who rent out their properties for periods during the year have been hit by a rise in rental income tax from 20 to 35.5 per cent, and capital gains tax levied on property sales is up from 19 to 34.5 per cent. At a time of falling property values, many expats beleive it’s the best idea to sell, even at a loss.

According to HiFX director Mark Bodega, speaking to the Telegraph, since 2008 Spanish property values have slumped by a third and inflation, along with unemployment, is on the rise. He admits that expats are fleeing the country due to worries about its poor outlook and the possibility of further deterioration in Spanish society.

Especially in Spain, which now has a glut of unsold properties, many UK expats are struggling to sell at any price, although others are determined to hold on due to soaring property prices in the UK. A third of owners whose homes are on the market have waited over a year without any offers, with eight per cent of homes still unsold after two years.
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