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Rush to buy property abroad: Britons seek European boltholes ahead of Brexit

By Juan-Carlo Tomas 

As the end of the year fast approaches, it turns out Britons have been making up to a million searches a day for great value boltholes to buy in southern Europe. 

Leading the search box charge? Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France. 

A beach in Malaga, on Spain's Costa del Sol.
Malaga, on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Properties in Spain are high on the list for Brits looking to buy a holiday home in Europe.

With the pandemic throwing travel plans into disarray, and the prospect of further disruptions at the end of the Brexit transition period come December 31, the staggering number of searches for property for sale was revealed by property website Rightmove. The spike took place on the weekend of June 27-28, during a particularly wet and gloomy patch of weather. 

It’s little surprise Britons might seek sunnier climes when the weather’s pants, but unlike the travel wanderlust everyone seems to currently have, this one is translating into real world actions, with enquiries to overseas real estate agents the highest they’ve been since the start of 2019, the report highlighted. 

“We’ve seen a gradual resurgence of interest from home-hunters looking for properties abroad since April,” says Rightmove.  

“After the government confirmed there will be easing of travel restrictions to certain countries we saw demand for overseas homes rise even further to record-breaking levels.” 

While there’s no harm in dreaming of your own patch in the sun, if you want to get serious about it then the task of buying overseas is no holiday.  

You’ll need to take into account local laws, taxes, permits and licenses, along with the usual caveats when buying a property locally like its physical condition, or if your place is new then the developer, any brokers and of course, get reliable financial and legal advice. 

Saving money on buying property abroad 

An added layer of complexity when buying anything abroad is the exchange rate, and any fees associated with your transaction. These come into sharper relief when you’re buying something as significant as a property – usually the most expensive thing any of us are likely to buy!

Even though you’ve spent your time shopping around for a great property in a good location for a fair price, all your effort can be undone if you don’t pay attention to how you how you end up actually making your payment. 

Introducing PagoFX 

If you’re buying a property abroad or paying for real estate fees, you’re likely going to have to make international money transfers. Whether you’re sorting out utilities, buying furniture or paying for a removals service, you’re going to want to know the best way to send money abroad.

PagoFX, a new money transfer app backed by Santander, is one such way. The app has a transparent payment system, so you know exactly how much you’re sending and how much will be converted – there are no hidden fees. Using real-time technology, PagoFX is also able to offer you up-to-date exchange rates. 

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), PagoFX offers bank-level security, giving you peace of mind when transferring substantial sums for an overseas property purchase.

Disclaimer: This article is provided as general information purposes only, and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topic. We recommend that you take professional and specialised advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on the content of this publication, as this article is not intended to constitute expert advice. We do not guarantee, explicitly or implicitly, that the content of this article is accurate, complete or up-to-date. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from PagoFX or its affiliates.