The number of Britons who plan to buy properties abroad is set to double, according to research released by today by Barclays.
Some 5% of people questioned by the bank already own a home abroad, while a further 5% said they would “definitely” buy a property overseas in the future.
In addition, 37% of respondents said they were “considering a purchase abroad”.
But while people are attracted to the idea of buying overseas, the survey revealed there are some practical concerns they need to address.
Over half (58%) of those who are considering a purchase said they were concerned about local legal or tax issues; 17% were worried about the security of an empty property; and 8% feared they might be overcharged by the seller.
A further 14% were worried that they did not know the local language well enough to arrange the deal.
Among those questioned, Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands) was the most popular location for a second home, with 30% of potential buyers naming it as their preferred destination.
Perhaps surprisingly, the US was second on the list, favoured by 15% of Britons, while 14% said they wanted to buy in France.
Some 9% of those asked said they didn’t yet know where they wanted to buy.
“The trend towards owning property abroad shows no sign of abating and could go through the roof if people were more confident of a hassle-free purchase,” said Suzanne Clay, head of European business development at Barclays.
Speculating on reasons for the surge in interest in overseas property, Ms Clay said: “Many people buying a second home overseas are likely to use it for holiday purposes, but are not averse to letting the property out to help with mortgage repayments.”
“They might also be looking at it as a place to retire to,” she added. “To others, this may be a significant step towards moving overseas permanently.”
The popularity of second homes abroad has risen in recent years, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics in June.
They revealed that between 2002-03 and 2003-04 the number of British families who owned a second property overseas increased by 20% to reach a quarter of a million.
Source: Guardian Unlimited