British foreign property owners ‘considering selling up’

The new year should be about hope and optimism, but, if anything, 2013 is going to be a cautious year for many people around the world. This isn’t such a bad thing, as the undertone is one of progress, albeit protracted.
In light of this, it helps to put some context into the news that one in ten British owners of foreign property are planning to put their investment back onto the market.
According to HiFX, a leading online foreign currency exchange broker, a modest but significant number of British expats living in Spain and France in particular have expressed a desire to move back to the UK.
This is noteworthy. Both of these European countries have always been popular destinations for British holidaymakers, professional expats and second homeowners, principally because of their relaxed way of life and proximity to the UK.
That this demographic is beginning to feel unsettled enough to seriously reconsider life abroad isn’t so much startling but indicative of a desire to feel more settled.
Research from HiFX showed that a fifth of respondents were motivated to head back home because the value of property across the eurozone has been diminishing since the financial crisis.
With 2012 being defined as a year of volatility and 2013 suggestive of slow growth, now appears to be the time to make a move, especially in Spain.
“Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, property prices in Spain have fallen by a third, which has had a detrimental effect on the value of second homes,” commented Mark Bodega, director at HiFX.
Though prices are therefore competitive, because of a lack of liquidity in the market and the same cautious attitude towards lending being espoused by banks, it is still going to be difficult to sell homes. And even if expats do, whether they can get a decent price remains to be seen.
Even then, the world is full of surprises. The latest Rightmove Overseas report observed that the most searched for destinations for British people considering investing in overseas property is still dominated by Spain and the US.
“Emigration always features heavily in buyers’ mind this time of year, so it is logical they are weighing up the options before the new year kicks in,” stated Shameem Golamy, of Rightmove Overseas.
“France has also seen a surge in interest, mainly led by increased interest in the Dordogne, Savoie and Hérault regions.”