To report IS
New life for the holiday home dream: Brits wanting a foot in the European property market amid shadow of Brexit are snapping up second properties despite rising prices – and just look at what’s available!
- Here we’ve showcased properties in three distinct sections, themed on France, Spain and Italy
- We’ve also got expert opinion on the currency picture and where in Europe you should make a purchase
- Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find the league table of where’s best in the world to be an expat
Jennifer Newton for MailOnline
As Brexit looms there’s plenty for Britain’s middle classes to worry about – the economy, barista shortages and, for many, what it means for their chances of securing a dream holiday home on the continent.
Plenty aren’t willing to wait to find out and are looking to snap up second properties abroad, despite rising prices. So what’s available? A most impressive bounty.
Here we reveal stunning homes on the continent that are for sale – from Riviera mansions to cosy farmhouses – and, with the help of property experts, pinpoint some of the best areas to buy in and the financial plusses and minuses of purchasing right now.
This £1.5million villa in Speracedes is just one of many amazing holiday homes showcased here
FROM 10-BEDROOM MANSIONS TO RUSTIC FARMHOUSES: STUNNING HOUSES AVAILABLE IN FRANCE
Villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – 25million euros (£21million)
If you’ve just won the EuroMillions, you might want to put this stunning mansion on your wish list
This four-storey, jaw-dropping property has 10 bedrooms spread throughout the main building and in a pool house
There’s a garage for 10 cars, a covered terrace a guest cloakroom, a few dressing rooms and a pizza oven somewhere in there
Needless to say, the 850-square-metre property has jaw-dropping en-suites – five-star hotel standard
If you’ve just won the EuroMillions, you might want to put this stunning mansion on your wish list.
This four-storey, jaw-dropping property has 10 bedrooms spread throughout the main building and in a pool house, which is next to a huge swimming pool.
Plus there’s a garage for 10 cars, a covered terrace a guest cloakroom, a few dressing rooms and a pizza oven somewhere in there. For sale through FrenchEntree.
Paris apartment on Avenue du Président Wilson with Eiffel Tower views – 18million euros (£16m)
This apartment is located on the famous Avenue du Président Wilson and comes with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower – plus a few nice touches
It has floors made from Italian marble and Onyx, a double living room and four suites each with their own dressing room
The works of art and furniture in this apartment are included in the price. Ideal for those who want a particularly shiny crash pad
This apartment is located on the famous Avenue du Président Wilson and comes with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower – plus a few nice touches.
Like all the floors being made from Italian marble and Onyx, a double living room and four suites each with their own dressing room.
Its works of art and furniture are included in the price. For sale through FrenchEntree.
Ravishing charterhouse in Dordogne – 1,975,000 euros (£1.7million)
Sitting in a protected architectural and landscape heritage zone in Dordogne is this beautifully renovated charterhouse
The grounds have been beautifully kept and as this image shows, there’s a rather splendid walled swimming pool
Your £1.7million buys you oodles of character and charm, plus three secondary dwellings for guests
Sitting in a protected architectural and landscape heritage zone in Dordogne is this beautifully renovated charterhouse.
It comprises a main building and three secondary dwellings.
Features include a swimming pool, large fireplaces, a sauna and a study/library. For sale through FrenchEntree.
Unique restored farmhouse with pool, Saint-Léon-sur-l’Isle, Dordogne – 499,000 euros (£437,000)
This 17th-century farmhouse has been lovingly restored and will delight anyone who yearns for a bucolic retreat in the French countryside
Lolling by the swimming pool may well become a top priority for the buyers and their guests
The farmhouse comes with a kitchen that, unsurprisingly, is farmhouse style – cute, cosy and the perfect place for a glass of pinot noir while something rustic is cooking
This 17th-century farmhouse has been lovingly restored.
It’s in a beautiful area of France – though escaping and seeing it all might not be a priority. The buyers and their guests might just prefer to loll around in the gorgeous swimming pool instead.
When ensconced here, the Brexit saga will seem a million miles away. For sale through FrenchEntree.
Five-bedroom villa/house for sale in Speracedes, south-east France – 1,690,000 euros (£1.5million)
This property was recently reduced to 1.69 million euros from over two million by the British owners, who have moved back to London
The villa offers stunning panoramic countryside views from the Saint Cassien lake down to the sea
The villa features beautiful stone floors and elegant furnishings and covers 300 square metres
This property was recently reduced to 1.69 million euros from over two million by the British owners, who have moved back to London.
This was their main residence for many years, according to Home Hunts, which is selling it, but their children have now left home and they decided to relocate back to the UK because two of their children are based there. Plus, says Home Hunts, ‘prices were interesting and the exchange rate particularly is interesting at present’. They will buy a smaller property in France once they have found a buyer, it added.
The villa offers stunning panoramic countryside views from the Saint Cassien lake down to the sea.
House in Cotignac, Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur – 275,000 euros (£240,000)
Situated just a few miles from the olde worlde settlement of Cotignac, this 19th-century property is just the job for anyone who wants a charming getaway in an idyllic setting
The property has been carefully restored using ‘only quality materials’, according to FrenchEntree, which is selling it
Situated just a few miles from the olde worlde settlement of Cotignac, this 19th-century property is just the job for anyone who wants a charming getaway in an idyllic setting.
It has four bedrooms and wonderful views of the countryside.
FrenchEntree, which is selling it, says ‘Only quality materials have been used for the renovation of this ‘jewel’ in the Provence Verte.’
Louis-Philippe style house, Loche – 730,000 euros (£640,000)
This amazing property is billed as being in the style of Louis Philippe, the 19th-century King of France
The house has an interior fit for anyone on the civil list, as this incredible image shows
The house comes with a cellar that FrenchEntree, which is selling it, describes as a ‘maze’
This amazing property is billed as being in the style of Louis Philippe, the 19th-century King of France.
It’s certainly regal.
It has an entrance gate flanked by two pavilions, a paved courtyard and a quite magnificent cellar, which is described by FrenchEntree, which is selling it, as a ‘maze’.
One of those experts is Lucas Fox Managing Director Rod Jamieson, whose firm sells properties in Spain.
He told MailOnline Travel that the Brexit factor is definitely driving Brits to the estate agent window.
He said: ‘In general there’s an increase in demand from British people buying. They want to get a foothold in the property market because no one really knows after Brexit what’s going to happen.
‘They want the security of having a property in Spain and that’s pushing the demand.’
Tim Swannie, co-founder of French Riviera-based luxury property specialists Home Hunts, is experiencing a similar scenario.
He said: ‘We have had a lot of interest this year from British buyers. We found that British buyers really dropped off immediately after the Brexit referendum, enquiries remained low for about four to five months, but then they started to build up again.
‘Towards the end of last year we were seeing a lot more interest from the UK and this year in particular, we have been very busy with Brits.
‘Pre-Brexit vote, 54 per cent of our clients were British but this dropped to around 15 to 20 per cent almost overnight. This year, however, we are back to just over 40 per cent.
‘Brits want a sunny escape, somewhere to visit and get away from the political saga in the UK.’
One buyer, Steve Humphris, 60, from Salisbury, has just bought a three-bedroom house in Normandy for 150,000 euros (£131,000).
He told The Sunday Times: ‘We have always liked Normandy – it is an easy seven-hour door-to-door drive. With all the no-deal speculation, we wanted to lock into the right to buy and live in France now.
FROM THE COSTA BRAVA TO IBIZA: INCREDIBLE PROPERTIES AVAILABLE IN SPAIN
Villa with stunning pool and sea views, Tamariu, Costa Brava – 740,000 euros (£650,000)
‘This three-bedroom property – just a few steps away from Aigua Xelida beach – boasts beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding pine forest hillside,’ says Lucas Fox, which is selling it
The property’s standout feature is a spectacular 20m-long, glass-ended swimming pool, which emerges from the main living space
This award winning property was constructed in 2004 by the Barcelona based Archikubik practice
‘This three-bedroom property – just a few steps away from Aigua Xelida beach – boasts beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding pine forest hillside,’ says Lucas Fox, which is selling it on behalf of a British owner.
It continues: ‘This award winning property was constructed in 2004 by the Barcelona based Archikubik practice and is a really different style of modern house to those usually found in the Costa Brava. The property’s standout feature is a spectacular 20m long, glass-ended swimming pool which emerges from the main living space and extends suspended above the garden below.’
You had us at ‘glass-ended swimming pool which emerges from the main living space’.
Five-bedroom villa on the Costa del Sol’s ‘Golden Mile’ – 2,250,000 euros (£1,970,000)
This ‘impeccable modern villa’ is yours for just under £2million. It comes with an amazing communal pool
From the villa’s swish terrace residents can gaze upon the sparkling Mediterranean Sea
The villa has five bedrooms, marble flooring and is in a ‘prestigious gated community’
Impeccable modern villa for sale in a prestigious gated community with a communal garden and pool in Marbella’s Golden Mile.
That’s the opening description of this British-owned property by Lucas Fox. And it probably doesn’t need to say an awful lot more to sell it.
But just to be sure it adds that it enjoys panoramic sea views, has marble flooring and five bedrooms.
Nine-bedroom villa in Ibiza – 2,980,000 euros (£2.6million)
Just five minutes from San Rafael lies this incredible property. The gardens feature several fruit trees
The villa’s swimming pool is sure to make a splash with the new owners
Funky furniture is the order of the day inside. Lucas Fox says that it has been completely renovated in spectacular fashion
Just five minutes from San Rafael lies this incredible property.
Outside there are several fruit trees, a vegetable garden and a pool.
Inside there are nine bedrooms, most with an en-suite, and air conditioning. Lucas Fox says: ‘This spectacular completely renovated property is surrounded by nature, but also very close to all services.’
Beautifully renovated apartment, Valencia Old Town – 370,000 euros (£324,000)
This renovated apartment in Valencia Old Town has ‘exceptional finishes’ and a ‘beautiful’ private terrace
Magnificent tiled floors, solid wood doors and high ceilings are the order of the day in this apartment. Yours for a tad over £300,000
This renovated apartment in Valencia Old Town has ‘exceptional finishes’ and a ‘beautiful’ private terrace.
So says agent Lucas Fox, which adds that ‘notable features include the magnificent tiled floors throughout the property, solid wood doors painted white, high ceilings, ornamental carvings, beautiful shutters and lots of natural light’.
The large living room, meanwhile, has two balconies and the bathroom and kitchen are very swish.
Green Golf, Estepona – from 299,000 euros (£263,000)
This gated community development from Taylor Wimpey includes 48 three-bedroom houses
As this image shows, the apartments are bright and spacious. And the clue is in the name – they’re all handy for the golf course
Green Golf is the new development from Taylor Wimpey Spain at Estepona Golf, at the heart of the Costa del Sol, with ‘bright, spacious homes overlooking the golf course’.
There are, according to Taylor Wimpey, 48 houses with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and large terraces.
It’s private gated community with communal gardens and pools.
Marina Golf, Nova Santa Ponsa, Majorca – from 615,000 (£540,000)
Taylor Wimpey de España’s new Marina Golf residential complex is located next to the Santa Ponsa III Golf Club
Chic: The Mediterranean style village has spacious three-bedroom properties with private terraces and gardens
Taylor Wimpey de España’s new Marina Golf residential complex is located next to the Santa Ponsa III Golf Club.
It’s a Mediterranean style village with ‘spacious’ three-bedroom properties with private terraces and gardens and private parking spaces.
And the exclusive Puerto Adriano marina, designed by Philippe Starck, is just 1.5km away. This, says Taylor Wimpey, has ‘a wide variety of elegant bars and restaurants and some of the most exclusive designer stores’.
Charming townhouse, Vilassar de Mar – 575,000 euros (£505,000)
Water good spot: This renovated four-bedroom townhouse is just two streets back from the sea
Spacious: It’s distributed over three floors with stairs leading up to a storage room on the top floor
This renovated four-bedroom townhouse is just two streets back from the sea.
The house, says Lucas Fox, dates from 1910 but was ‘tastefully renovated in 2010 with excellent finishes’.
It’s distributed over three floors with stairs leading up to a storage room on the top floor. There is the possibility of creating an attic floor here with a terrace overlooking the sea, says Lucas Fox.
Six-bedroom house on Sant Salvador beach, near Sitges – 1,975,000 euros (£1.7million)
This house sits right on Sant Salvador beach and is described as a ‘dream home’
Step inside and you’ll find a ‘sensational hallway with a reading area’ and vaulted ceilings
Yes, it’s a hefty price tag. But this is a special property.
It’s a fully renovated family home that sits right on Sant Salvador beach in Vendrell with spectacular views.
It has five en-suite bedrooms, a ‘sensational hallway with a reading area’ and vaulted ceilings. Lucas Fox claims that it’s a ‘dream come true for any family in search of the perfect beach house’.
But the great escape involves rolling financial dice that aren’t loaded favourably for Brits.
And that’s because of the Brexit-driven weak pound, which has made Europe a seller’s market.
Prices are high.
Foreign exchange firm Currencies Direct explained how dramatically prices have changed in the seller’s favour.
It said that a one million-euro property in February or early 2002 would have cost almost £613,000.
But a property of the same value now would cost a British buyer £877,000 due to the weak pound.
Meanwhile a 250,000-euro house in October 2002 would have worked out at £153,000 but now would cost £219,000 due to currency fluctuations.
The advice is to keep an eagle eye on the performance of the pound by setting up a currency tracker.
But where to buy?
Spain-based Mr Jamieson is obviously biased towards Spain, though he does have good reason to recommend making a purchase there.
He said: ‘The Spanish economy is doing very well. Last year the economy grew 3.1 per cent, which was double the average of the rest of the European zone.
‘So there are lots of British people wanting to invest in the Spanish market because of the positive economic factors. There are possibly capital gains over the mid to long term. And good yields to be had in the rental market.’
John Caudwell, co-founder of luxury property developer Caudwell Collection, advises buying in the French Riviera.
He said: ‘There has been no better time in the past 10 years to invest in the French Riviera. The hyperinflation that characterised the early 2000s has subsided and market prices have now adjusted – representing value for money. Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy both the chic glamour of the Riviera and the unspoilt mountain ranges virtually on your doorstep.
‘It is the only way to combine high-living on the coast with simple living in the breath-taking mountains where you can ski, cycle and enjoy the unbelievable scenery. It is one of my own favourite holiday destinations.’
OLIVE TREES AND TUMBLING TUSCAN LANDSCAPES: BEAUTIFUL HOMES AVAILABLE IN ITALY
Four bedroom house, Lucca, Tuscany – 1,350,000 euros (£1,182,463)
This gorgeous villa is situated in a panoramic location on the hills near the coast between Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi. And as this picture shows, it has a rather lovely swimming pool
If you’ve got a spare million pounds or so, this amazing Tuscan property could be yours
Features include a rustic kitchen with marble work top and bedrooms with cute panoramic balconies
This gorgeous villa is situated in a panoramic location on the hills near the coast between Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi.
Features include a rustic kitchen with marble work top, bedrooms with cute panoramic balconies and a super swimming pool.
The property, says Knight Frank, offers spectacular views from the Apuan Alps on one side, to the sea on the other.
Four-bedroom farmhouse, Radda in Chianti, Siena, Tuscany – 1,300,000 euros (£1,138,668)
This lovely property was originally the mill house of the Santa Maria Novella convent. The swimming pool is 23 metres long
There’s a main house and a guest cottage that comprises a double bedroom en suite
This lovely property was originally the mill house of the Santa Maria Novella convent.
Knight Frank says: ‘Situated in the tranquil unspoilt hills between Radda in Chianti and Panzano it enjoys marvellous views south towards Radda and the surrounding countryside.’
There’s a main house and a guest cottage that comprises a double bedroom en suite. There are approximately 1.8 hectares of land including lawns, garndes, olive terraces and woodland and a 23-metre-long swimming pool.
Five-bedroom farmhouse, Vescovado di Murlo, Tuscany – 1,550,000 euros (£1,357,643)
Drone imagery reveals just how splendid this Tuscan farmhouse is. For £1.3million you get 5.2 hectares of land
Knight Frank describes this farmhouse as ‘handsome’.
But we feel that drone imagery puts it in the ‘breathtaking’ category.
For £1.3million you get 5.2 hectares of land with fruit trees and olive trees, a ‘fabulous’ fish pond and a ‘fully fenced’ swimming pool. What it’s fenced from we’re not entirely sure as there’s nothing but gorgeous countryside on all sides… but still, it’s definitely a dream property.
Umbrian farmhouse, Niccone Valley – 850,000 euros (£750,000)
This wonderful farmhouse has ‘enviable south facing views’ and ‘pristine’ gardens
The house was originally laid out in order to undertake a rental business, which was run with great success for many years
This doesn’t need the hard sell – it’s a gorgeous property.
Savills says: ‘This fully and beautifully restored Umbrian farmhouse with enviable south facing views has been home to its current residents for 15 years, and their dedication is evident in the finish of the house and the pristine condition of the gardens and land that surround the house.’
It adds: ‘The house was originally laid out in order to undertake a rental business, which was run with great success for many years. The main house contains a total of 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, as well as 2 kitchens and 2 living rooms.’
New data from specialist French property agents FrenchEntrée, meanwhile, has revealed the top three areas that are generating buyer enquiries in France right now.
Traditional favourites such as Paris and the Côte d’Azur have been eclipsed by the three latest hotspots: Limousin, Poitou-Charentes and Provence.
Limousin is known for providing excellent value for money when it comes to property. Located in France’s hilly southwest, its three departments – Corrèze, Creuse and Haute-Vienne – are some of the most sparsely populated in the country, making this a great area for buyers who are looking to reconnect with nature, FrenchEntrée said.
Traditional, rural properties abound in Limousin.
Stone houses with plenty of land can be picked up for well under €175,000 (£153,000). In fact, that budget would be sufficient for a traditional house with outbuildings, mature fruit trees and an above-ground pool, the agent said.
Neighbouring Poitou-Charentes, meanwhile, is home to a number of leisure lakes, offering swimming, walking and water sports. Properties near the lakes include some impressive rural residences, with €300,000 (£262,000) being enough for a four-bedroom house with 11 acres of land and stream, with stables and fenced grazing land, just minutes from the lakes of Haute Charente, according to FrenchEntrée.
Provence has, of course, been familiar to British property buyers since Peter Mayle’s famous 1989 tale of terrible weather, black market truffle dealers and the quirks of the French labour system.
Mayle’s bumbling, entertaining attempts at integration inspired many British buyers to give Provence a try. Today, many of the area’s attractions remain largely the same as they did back then.
Next to the playground of the rich that is the Côte d’Azur, Provence offers a more laid-back alternative, though still with stunning surroundings.
This extensive area encompasses everything from coastal settings to the Alps. Summer and winter sporting options mean that the area is popular with tourists year-round, with many heading into the mountains in the summer months for lakeside frolics away from the more intense heat of the coast.
Provençal properties are considerably more expensive than those in Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. A characterful 19th-century farmhouse with pool, set in 1.6 hectares of land, will set buyers back €590,000 (£516,000).
Anyone wanting to buy in Italy should consider aiming for a city, particularly Rome and Milan.
That’s according to Hugo Thistlethwayte, head of international residential operations at Savills.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘Rome is more of a lifestyle choice. It’s obviously bloody beautiful, but also it’s become a bit more international. Not just in terms of tourists, but in terms of people living there.
‘And there are a few new developments. Developing in Rome is really hard, because it’s an antiquities site. So when there’s a new construction it’s over and above the standard of what you can buy in the second-hand market.
‘So if you target a couple of the new developments that are coming in Rome I’d say that’s a fantastic lifestyle. Although the economy is a little bit up and down.
‘Longer term, Rome has still got enough about it that the fundamentals outweigh the risks.
‘For prime Rome you’re looking at equivalent pricing of not quite Wandsworth in London.
‘You can buy top quality for 7,000 euros a square metre.
‘Milan meanwhile in the past three or four years has become increasingly trendy. There are new shops opening and new restaurants opening and there are also new developments going on. And it’s also pushed on culturally. There are even people who’ve moved from Venice to Milan because it’s become so trendy.
‘Italy has always been famous for Tuscany and Chianti and yes, the charm of Tuscany continues, and that market is recovering. But there’s a greater emphasis now on making sure investments are covered and that there’s an opportunity to rent out an apartment. In cities you get 52-weeks-a-year opportunity to rent out. Whereas the renting in the countryside tends to be a lot more seasonal. What drives property markets these days is income. People don’t just want to use a property for a few weeks and let it rot.’
THE LION CITY THAT ROARS FOR EXPATS: SINGAPORE NAMED THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK
Looking for more money and a wider social circle? Singapore is the place for you, according to thousands of people living overseas who answered the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey.
Marking its 11th year, more than 22,000 people who have made the move to live abroad were questioned about their new life. Singapore is rated the best destination for the fourth year in a row, followed closely by New Zealand, Germany, Canada and Bahrain.
#1 Singapore – The Lion City that roars for expats
Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world’s smallest territories, ranking 3rd for economics, 5th for families and 6th for experience. Those who move here see their earnings increase by 29 per cent to almost USD162,000 on average but, with a five-and-a-half-day working week common practice, just under a third (29 per cent) say their work life balance is worse than it was at home.
Nevertheless, Singapore’s work-hard play-hard culture has its new inhabitants singing its praises, as they throw themselves into the social scene. Almost all (95 per cent) of those asked in Singapore consider locals to be part of their social circle and 69 per cent settle in less than a year. The Lion City inspires more than just friendship, too. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring vertical gardens or seafront theatre, just under half (45 per cent) find lasting love in the city.
#2 New Zealand – the answer to better health and well-being
The experience you get when you move abroad is about so much more than just making money, and nowhere is this truer than New Zealand, the report says.
While a third (34 per cent) of all expats around the world moved abroad to improve their quality of life, in New Zealand the figure doubles to 60 per cent. With more than a third of the country made up of protected national parks, over half of people abroad there (56 per cent) become more physically active.
#3 Germany – time out not burn-out
Although the average expat salary in Germany ($95,337) can’t match the Middle East or Asia, people still flock to Germany for its working culture. With the lowest average working hours around the world (26 hours a week), it’s no surprise that almost three quarters (71 per cent) relish improving their work/life balance.
Luckily, this doesn’t come at the expense of career development, with 58 per cent of expats saying it is a good place to progress their career.
#4 Canada – a chance to become a local
Canada’s aim to attract almost one million people from around the world to live and work in the country by 2020 makes it one of the friendliest destinations in the world. Becoming part of the local community in Canada is easy for people who move here. Seventy per cent say they have integrated well with local people and culture and 51 per cent actually spend most of their time with locals.
Home to Toronto Pride, one of the biggest gay pride events in the world, expats rate Canada as the most welcoming country in the world regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or faith (68 per cent). Indeed, love is easy to find, with 57 per cent meeting their long-term partner there, compared to 48 per cent globally.
#5 Bahrain – the economic challenger
Bahrain has jumped four places in the overall ranking. It has even overtaken financial services hub Hong Kong as its economy expands into banking, heavy industries, retail and tourism to come fifth in the economics table.
Just under half (45 per cent) of those surveyed moved there to improve their earnings and they aren’t disappointed, with 48 per cent reporting their income is at least 50 per cent higher and 80 per cent admitting they can pay off debts and save more.
The rest of the top 10 is made up of Australia (6th), Sweden (7th), Switzerland (8th), Taiwan (9th) and UAE (10th).
John Goddard, Head of HSBC Expat, comments: ‘There are many reasons to move overseas, such as career progression, a better life for your family or just to embark on a new adventure. One thing is clear, those who do take the leap enjoy a world of different experiences, gaining new skills and learning about themselves along the way.
‘Attracting the most vibrant international talent around is vital for any modern economy and Singapore is leading the charge again this year. Combining outstanding financial benefits, a bustling culture and top-class education system, Singapore is reaping the rewards of being the world’s most sought-after expat experience.
‘Making that first step abroad requires courage but the rewards are well worth it. If you are thinking of taking the plunge into a new life, there is a lot to consider, whether it’s your visa, bank account or where you are going to live. Planning is key so that you can focus on what really matters – meeting new people, discovering a new country and finding a new perspective.’
Want to buy a holiday home in Europe before Brexit? Here are the amazing properties available