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A guide on where to buy property abroad
August 7th, 2013
 
A guide on where to buy property abroad
Unstable politics and long-haul flights are no barrier to holiday-house thrill seekers

Susan Emmett

Never mind the property slump in the UK. What about a villa in Thailand, a beachfront apartment in Venezuela, a safari lodge in Botswana or a house in Florida? Falling house prices may be deterring buyers over here but to some property investors, unstable politics, rioting, economic downturn and long-haul charter flights are no obstacles to purchasing the ultimate holiday home. If you are looking for something beyond the usual villa in Spain or France, consider these:

Thailand

Thailand is in the news after the anti-government riots there. And yet it remains one of the most popular emerging property markets. Gorgeous weather, amazing beaches and friendly locals have prompted a surge in holiday-home building in Phuket and Ko Samui. However, there are strict rules governing the foreign ownership of land, so if buying in Thailand, be sure to seek good legal advice andcheck that the building works will be completed. Flying to Bangkok takes about 12 hours; direct return flights from London cost from about £600.

For Sale: A two-bedroom villa in Maenam Hills in Ko Samui costs about £100,000. Further information: clairebrownrealty.com

Venezuela

Much hyped on the second-homes property circuit is Isla Margarita, 40 miles north of the Venezuelan mainland. It has all the benefits of any Caribbean island - warm sea, soft sand, clement weather - without many of the downsides - high prices and hurricanes. So what's not to like? Many see the Socialist President, Hugo Chávez, as a threat to democracy. You can fly direct in about nine hours for £400-£500 return.

For sale: A two-bedroom flat with a sea view at the Caracola development costs €112,000 (£90,000). A similar home without the view costs €103,000. Contact: Emerging Earth, 0845 6041208, emergingearth.com

Cape Verde

These African islands are doing their utmost to cosy up to the EU despite their position 280 miles off the coast of Senegal. White-sand beaches and year-round temperatures of about 25C (77F), are the main selling points. The bulk of new developments have sprung up on São Tiago, Sal and Boa Vista islands. Property prices in Boa Vista, for example, range from €45,000 for a studio to €600,000 for a beachfront villa. There are some direct five-hour charter flights for between £200 and £600. TAP, the Portuguese airline, can take up to ten hours to get there via Lisbon.

For sale: Two-bedroom apartment at the Palm View development starts at €184,000. Contact: Cape Verde Property, 01753 859233, capeverdeproperty.co.uk

Malaysia

Malaysia is on a drive to attract wealthy retired people through its Malaysia My Second Home programme. Successful applicants with substantial savings get a renewable ten-year residency visa provided that they do not work in Malaysia. The popularity of the scheme is helping to fuel the property market. But expats are also drawn to this former British colony by familiarity - English is widely spoken. Foreigners tend to buy in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, but Disney-esque beach resorts are sprouting up on the Sepang Gold Coast.

For sale: A water villa at the Golden Palm Tree development in Sepang starts at £147,709. Contact: Experience International 0800 6120901 or experience-international.com

Brazil

Last year foreign buyers spent $646 million (£369 million) on property in Brazil. Americans, Spaniards and Italians topped the list, while British buyers made up 8 per cent of the total, spending $55 million, according to research by HVS Consulting & Valuation and Newmark Knight Frank. Sun and beach were cited as the main reason behind the purchases but with Brazil getting ready to host the World Cup in 2014, investors may also expect reasonable returns. The northeast region is experiencing the best of the boom with big-name luxury resorts such as Aman, Radisson and Six Senses setting up here.

For sale: For €190,000 you can buy a furnished three-bedroom house in the Pippa Hills development near one of the most popular beaches in Natal. Further information: caribbeandreamsproperty.com

Nova Scotia

Jutting out of the eastern coast of Canada is Nova Scotia, where summers are hot, winters are cold and property is fairly affordable. A basic bungalow with ocean views costs less than £100,000, while for about £250,000 you can get a two-bedroom chalet in a golfing resort. The South Shore, which stretches from the provincial capital, Halifax, to Yarmouth on the west coast, is the most popular with overseas visitors. But Cape Breton Island is becoming increasingly sought after. Air Transat flies direct to Halifax from London Gatwick in just over five hours. Tickets cost between £250 and £700 return.

For sale: A two-bedroom chalet at the Louisbourg Resort Golf & Spa on Cape Breton Island costs from £215,000. Contact: Undiscovered Properties, 0870 7347968, undiscoveredproperties.com. See also tradewindsrealty.com

Tunisia

This North African country is trying to shake off its reputation as a cheap package holiday destination. And if you look beyond the huge 1960s resorts, it could well give Morocco a run for its money. The weather is warm most of the year and the white sandy beaches are vast. There are nine international airports, no time difference in the summer and the flight takes just two and a half hours. Best of all, property is cheap.

For sale: studios, one, two and three-bedroom flats at the Dunes Golf and Spa Resort starting at £20,000. Contact: Experience International, 0800 6120901, experience-international.com

Bahrain

It is being hailed as the next best thing after Dubai. Those who missed out on the early years of Dubai's property boom are now targeting this small island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has long been regarded as the region's playground, with Saudis pouring over the King Fahd Causeway every weekend. Foreigners are allowed to own property in designated areas.

For sale: Two to five-bedroom townhouses and villas at Riffa Views golf development. Prices range from £260,000 to £1.8million. Contact: Barton Wyatt International, 01344 843000, bartonwyatt.com

Florida

It is hardly a new destination and the effects of the US economic downturn have hit Florida hard. But that is what makes Florida attractive right now. With the number of repossessions high and local demand for property low, there is a glut of good-quality homes for sale. Countrywide Financial Corporation, one of the top lenders in the US, is selling 1,600 homes in Florida with some houses priced at 40 per cent below their value two years ago. Add to that the large numbers of developers desperate to sell and the strength of the pound against the dollar, and you have a good reason to go shopping. Some say that the market could even be turning. Unlike many new second-home destinations, Florida is easy to get to with numerous flights to Miami and Orlando.

For sale: A five-bedroom house near Disney World costs $399,000. Last year it was closer to $700,000. Further information: britishhomesgroup.com

 

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