Expats often quote the lure of warmer weather and a more laid-back lifestyle as reasons for moving overseas, but another bonus is more space for the money when buying a home.
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According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, an average British home now costs £254,000.
For most that means a three-bedroomed semi in the suburbs with hardly enough room to swing the proverbial cat.
That stereotype has prompted many to take a look around the world to see exactly what that £250,000 will buy in some of the favourite destinations for expats.
According to migration research by Guy Abel and Nikola Sander of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Vienna, just over 640,000 expats have left the UK in the past five years.
Top expat destinations
The top destinations were:
- Spain – 137,000
- Africa – 116,000 split among various countries, but mostly to Nigeria and South Africa
- Australia and New Zealand – 100,000
- France – 58,000
- Ireland – 58,000
For a better picture of the global flow of people, see Abel and Sander’s infographic of their research.
In Spain, property prices are at rock bottom after years of economic problems, a credit squeeze and disputes with developers over title to land.
Thousands of properties have been repossessed by banks and anyone with £250,000 cash in the bank can pick up a luxury three-bed villa with a pool, plenty of outside space and beautiful views in just about any location they desire.
Bang for their buck
In Australia and New Zealand, the property markets are generally two-speed. A budget of £250,000 will buy a similar property for the money as in the UK in the big cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
Elsewhere, as in Britain, buyers get more bang for their buck.
French property prices have remained reasonably stable over recent years. The Ile de France, the central region around Paris is generally more expensive than the rest of the country, where £250,000 buys a generous home.
Other pockets are also pricey – like the sunshine coast along the Mediterranean and desirable homes in the French ski resorts.
Ireland has also seen a rampant drop in property prices during the recession, and prices may be recovering but still have a long way to go to hit their peak as unwelcome property taxes bite as the government tries to raise cash to sort out a European Union bail-out.
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