4.4 million Brits dream of a place in the sun

The number of Brits with property abroad is set to double to 4.4 million, reveals research from Barclays.

In a survey, 5% of people already own a place in the sun the equivalent of 2.2 million people in the UK. And a further 5% say they definitely plan to buy a property overseas in the future, and 37% say they are considering making a purchase abroad.

But the lender warns that there are concerns that need to be overcome before the dream can become a reality.

For 58 % of those who are definitely or considering buying, getting caught out by local legal or tax issues is a major concern.

A further 17% are worried about keeping the property secure while it is empty; and 14% are concerned about being able to understand the local language well enough.

Only 8% are worried about being taken for a ride and paying too much for a property.

If a red-tape, trouble-free purchase could be guaranteed, 30% of people would like to buy a house in Spain, and 15% would choose the USA. France is the second most popular choice in Europe, with 14% of people picking it as their ideal destination to buy a property. Italy closely follows with 10% dreaming of making a purchase there, and 5% would like to live in Portugal.

Eastern Europe is another property hotspot 3% would like to make the most of Bulgarias cheap prices and 2% think Croatia would be a good place to invest in property.

Also in the top ten is South Africa, with 6% of people interested in living or having a holiday/second home there, and Dubai, which attracts 5% of people. 1% would like to buy in Morocco and 9% dont know.

Suzanne Clay, head of European business development at Barclays, says: “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. Thats why we offer a range of products to help Brits manage their finances and property efficiently when they are living abroad.”

Barclays serves non-resident mortgage customers through its operations in Spain, France, Portugal and Italy. To help take the hassle of owning and running a property abroad, Barclays has launched a range of packaged accounts specifically designed for Brits living or owing properties in popular locations such as France and Spain. The products, FranceSolutions+ and SpainSolutions provide a wide range of other services including a property survey service, home and contents insurance, a home security and alarm service and a translation service.