HOUSE buyers in Scotland are becoming a jet-to-let generation – snapping up properties overseas, after being priced out of the domestic housing market.
The UK property boom has meant prices have soared above the means of many Scots. But, with a growing number of routes being offered by no-frills airlines from airports across Scotland, the option of buying a property overseas is increasingly popular.
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The claim – from the director of the Homes Overseas Exhibition, being staged at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre today and tomorrow – comes as new research shows that the average UK homeowner had lived in their current property for 14 years and settled into their long-term family home at the age of 38.
Would-be home buyers – including first-time buyers and those looking for an investment opportunity – are looking at overseas markets for getting onto or climbing up the property ladder, according to Miki Reeder, director of this weekend’s exhibition.
Warmer climates, relaxed lifestyles and low-cost air travel have combined to make buying a property abroad an appealing alternative to buying in the UK, he said.
The average cost of a house in Scotland is now in the region of £105,500, according to the Bank of Scotland house price index. The most expensive area is Edinburgh, at £177,028, followed by Perth, at £144,993. The cheapest were Paisley at £95,792 and Dundee at £102,351.
It was not surprising then, said Reeder, that many first-time buyers were being seduced by more affordable homes overseas. Those looking for a holiday home or investment were also increasingly buying second homes in foreign climes, largely because of elevated prices in the UK.
“The UK housing market has become saturated with buy-to-let properties and investment in UK property is not necessarily yielding the same returns of yesteryear,” he said.
“This has led to the UK population looking further afield and, thanks to low-cost airlines servicing most European resorts and the lower cost of property throughout the EU, the jet-to-let generation is booming.”
Buying and letting out property overseas could be a sound investment, helping to raise capital for future property purchases or as a retirement home in years to come.
A two-bedroom property in Marbella’s Old Town on the Spanish Costa del Sol would cost in the region of £100,000 and could bring in £300 per week off-peak and £500 during the peak season. Meanwhile, in Carcassonne in France, the average cost of a property is just £72,000.
“Compare this to the average cost of a property in the local area and maybe buying abroad is the only option for many people buying for the first time or investing in their future,” said Reeder.
“With the added benefit of airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Globespan and Excel Airways servicing more than 20 European destinations from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick and Aberdeen airports, it wouldn’t be too costly to get to the location of your choice.”
Despite the rising cost of getting on the housing ladder, research from online bank Egg has showed the bulk of British homeowners – 63 per cent – move because of aspiration, rather than necessity.
The average homeowner owns three homes during their lifetime – but moving just an average three miles from their previous address. One in four claimed they were influenced by TV property programmes and a desire to keep up with the Joneses. That compared with just 15 per cent in Scotland.
Scots also typically moved a little further than the average Briton. They moved 12 miles – nine more than the average and compared with a high of 21 miles in Wales and a one-mile average in London.
“Our research clearly shows we all want to live in nicer homes, in nicer areas which have good potential and will cater for our financial futures,” said Andy Deller, banking and insurance director at Egg.
“But what it also highlights is that British homeowners are motivated by a desire to climb the housing ladder, to improve their surrounding environment for themselves and their families before finally settling down into their long-term home.”