6 places to buy a vacation home in the world for U.K. citizens

Getting Around By Lauren McMenemy December 19, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Buying a vacation home abroad is a dream for many, but where are the best places to buy a vacation home in the world?

ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2018 found 45% of British holidaymakers planned to visit a new country in the next 12 months, with Europe topping the list of destinations. Remember that the short-term Schengen visa covers 26 countries across Europe, allowing visits of no more than 90 days in a 180-day period — that’s perfect for vacations, so European countries will likely remain among the best places to buy a vacation home in the world for U.K. citizens.

Here’s a list of the top six places to consider for your international vacation home.

1. France

Three-bedroom house in the Dordogne: around €200,000

France is the world’s most popular destination for tourists; it welcomed nearly 89.4 million visitors in 2018, according to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Britons accounted for 26% of foreign property buyers in France in 2017, with Complete France reporting French estate agents are being “flooded” with enquiries from Brits wanting to buy homes there before Brexit. U.K. citizens are investing in all types of property, including farmhouses, gite businesses, B&Bs and chateaux. The southwest part of the country is the most popular, though there is also strong demand for apartments in Monaco, Cannes and, of course, Paris.

2. Spain

Two-bedroom apartment in Mallorca: around €150,000

Spain is a popular holiday destination, having welcomed approximately 19 million Brits last year, according to GOV.UK. Overseas property brand A Place in the Sun reports a 77% increase in reservations of Spanish properties by British buyers, with a 100% increase in the Costa del Sol. Spain is perennially popular as one of the best places to buy a vacation home in the world, but keep an eye on the tax implications post-Brexit — the loss of status as EU citizens could also mean a loss of beneficial tax status.

3. Greece

Two-bed townhouse in Neapoli, Crete: under €100,000

The debt crisis in Greece has been a boon for tourism, and it’s one of the most desirable locations for Brits interested in buying a vacation home abroad. The country offers beach, mountainous and remote locations all within close proximity, so you’ll likely find a home that suits your style. Note that after years of falling housing prices, property values are back on the rise in places like Athens, reports Global Property Guide.

4. Turkey

Apartment in Fethiye: under £50,000

If you crave the Mediterranean but don’t fancy Spain, Turkey can be a good investment for U.K. citizens. The most popular place to buy is the string of coastal towns along the Turquoise Coast, but Turkey also has ski resorts and adventure zones for those looking to move more inland. Istanbul is growing, too, as Turkey positions itself as the bridge between east and west, so a property there could make a strong investment for the future.

5. Bulgaria

One-bedroom in Veliko Tarnovo: around £30,000

Bulgaria’s property market is very price-sensitive, but right now it’s attracting a lot of British buyers as a place to find bargains, notes A Place in the Sun. Interest is especially strong in the inland province of Veliko Tarnovo. Here, you can get a modern property for under £100,000, or be more adventurous with a fixer-upper for the price of a new family car.

6. Florida

Modern villa near Disneyworld: around £125,000

Those with kids in tow will find it difficult to resist the lure of Florida. You could rent it out to help with the mortgage — just make sure you buy in an area where that is legal. Florida isn’t just about Orlando, though; there’s the bohemian Sarasota, wealthy Naples and party towns like Miami. Buying in the U.S. is straightforward, but budget around 3% extra for purchase costs. One thing to keep in mind is Florida’s position on the hurricane trail — make sure your vacation home meets building regulations and remember to budget for insurance.

Financial considerations of buying a vacation home

Until the withdrawal agreement is settled, the question of how U.K. property owners will be taxed in EU countries is still up in the air. You’ll also need to be mindful of the different legal systems in your destination country, even within the EU.

It’s best to ask plenty of questions about property taxes and ongoing costs — such as local taxes or maintenance fees — as well as have conversations with your bank about lending for foreign purchases. If you have the savings already, consider using a reliable method such as the Western Union® app to transfer some of the funds needed.

Investing in a vacation home abroad can be an exciting adventure. Be sure to keep these tips handy as you explore the various corners of the world, build global connections and establish roots in your dream destination.