Overseas property interest in 2014 is up year-on-year – with a 52% rise in Greek property interest in the last three months, although overall demand slowed in autumn, says a leading website.
Spain, Portugal and France are the most popular countries for overseas property buyer guide downloads on the OverseasGuidesCompany.com (OGC) website, which has offices in the UK and Portugal.
But there has also been rising interest in Turkey, Italy and Greece, where demand has leapt by half in the last three months from 279-424 inquiries and doubled its overall share of inquiries in 2014 from 2%-4%.
“This year, a reduction in the taxes paid during a house purchase have made it easier to buy an Italian property – adding to the already popular lack of inheritance tax and no Capital Gains tax after five years,” says the OGC.
“The mammoth growth experienced in Greece reflects data from the country indicating that foreign buyers have doubled their investment in Greek property (mainly holiday homes) in this time – property prices here are still around half the cost of the 2007 market peak,.
“Turkey has achieved growth despite the rocky political landscape in the country, suggesting that financially savvy overseas property buyers are flocking for bargains during this time period.
Downloads of OGC country buying guides is up 17% year-on-year from January-September 2014, from 29,299 to 34,287.
But the growth in inquiries has slowed to 4.1% annually from July-September, reaching 10,957.
Angelos Koutsoudes, Head of the OverseasGuidesCompany.com, says, “After a bullish first half of the year, there was a cooling off of inquiries during the third quarter – this compares to the previous two years, when Quarter 3 has always outperformed the first two quarters. The months of April to June continue to be the most popular months for would-be homebuyers to view and complete on overseas properties.”
Foreign exchange expert, Charles Purdy, Director and Founder of SmartCurrencyExchange.com, says the Scottish referendum probably caused the decline.
“Inquiries between July and September fell by 9 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2014; and by 5.5 per cent compared with the first quarter. The reason for this drop could have been the Scottish Referendum in September, the month with the lowest amount of enquiries in Quarter 3. Undoubtedly, the uncertainty of the referendum’s outcome caused nervousness in the economy, with ripple effects felt across Europe.
“This uncertainty prompted a significant number of individuals to put their plans to buy abroad on hold. It also led to a momentary loss in value for sterling, which would have deterred people further from purchasing or moving abroad, at least until things had settled down.”
Spain attracted 2,710 inquiries in the third quarter, with France receiving 2,575 inquiries. Leading the risers was Greece, up 52%, Italy, up 12.7% and Turkey up 8.5% over the previous quarter.
Looking ahead, continued growth is expected in the key markets, with mortgage rates in the Eurozone remaining at historic lows and sterling likely to maintain a comparatively strong value against the euro, says Smart, which is a sponsor of this month’s OPPLive London overseas property show.
But bargain prices of homes in popular parts of Spain, France and Portugal won’t last forever, buyers believe, and there are signs that hotspots are already seeing slight price rises.
However, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) has just produced worst-case estimates suggesting that Spanish property prices could fall by up to 3.1% in 2014 and by 5% in 2015-2016.
Despite that, most market experts see gradual improvements in the Spanish real estate market over the next few years.
By Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect