Thursday, February 1, 2007

Property investors favour traditional hotspots

The traditional overseas property havens of France and Spain are still the most popular among investment-hungry Brits looking for holiday homes abroad, according to new research.

Unsurprisingly, given the British historic love affair with the Mediterranean Costas, Spain came top of the A Place In The Sun magazine poll and was closely followed by France.

Other established markets of Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and the USA also dominated the top ten, which was punctured by just three emerging hotspots: Bulgaria, Turkey and the Cape Verde islands in the mid-Atlantic.

Previous studies have shown that the regions where UK residents tend to invest in property tend to be broadly similar to our favourite holiday destinations and this survey appears to back up this correlation.

But that is not to say investors are indifferent to achieving high returns on their investments.

France has consistently ranked highly in British investors' estimations not only because of its romantic boulevards, idyllic villages and rolling countryside peppered with vineyards and flailing cornfields, but because it typically offers a strong rate of capital growth.

Trisha Mason, founder and managing director of VEF French Property, predicts capital appreciation of between eight and ten per cent, considerably higher than the 1980s and 1990s' norm of five per cent.

This estimate is broadly in line with the Knight Frank Global house price index, which calculated house prices in France rose 8.9 per cent in the third three months of last year.

However, jet-to-let is also a recognised way of making income from properties abroad. Ms Mason said that they French buy-to-let market "remains exceedingly buoyant" at present

She added: "Anyone buying to let needs to be looking at small apartments in the centre of cities. Nice remains a strong favourite for investors."

Although many may still dream of the picturesque countryside villa in rural France, some of the biggest bargains to be had are in urban areas as there is a high domestic demand for rental properties.

Accommodation in Beausoleil in the Provence-Cote d'Azur region, overlooking the expensive yachts, castle, sea and occasional Formula One racing circuit in Monaco can be snapped up for a mere €100,000 (£66,325). Considering that Nationwide states the average home in the UK now tops £170,000, this represents a safe, low-cost investment.

Properties in the town have high rental capacity due to the masses of tourists that flock to Monaco for luxury holidays throughout the year.

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