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As Europe manages to struggle it’s way out of the economic crisis which has plagued us all for so long, more and more Brits are looking to splash their newly-free cash on holiday homes overseas. Have you ever thought of buying a holiday home abroad?
Post-recession, estate agents throughout Europe are suggesting that now is the time to buy should you want to.
“Across the globe young, footloose, creative people are escaping the suburbs of their own countries and moving to international urban centres,” says Yolande Barnes, head of global research at Savills, in it’s latest 12 Cities report. It seems that we have been drawn, like never before, to the hubbub and cultural vibes that European cities offer, and we are making more and more estate purchases.
Prices have dropped significantly, say Knight Frank in its own European Cities Review, but it also predicts that cities such as Monaco and London now seem so very expensive in contrast to other European hubs that investors will start looking at ‘second tier cities’ (for example, Florence instead of Rome, Dusseldorf instead of Berlin) in order to ‘find affordability and better prospects of cultural growth’ alongside a lovely type of lifestyle.
So where do you begin? Estate agents across the continent are divided about where is best to settle and start to ‘build’ your holiday nest – somewhere to escape the humdrum of everyday life without being too far from home, and still enjoying the vibrant and distinct culture that European cities offer.
Head of Spanish sales for Knight Frank, Christrian de Meillac, says that “if there is such thing as a top secondary city, then Barcelona is it. Some of the world’s best architecture, a thriving business district and the best food in Europe are all within walking distance of the beach.” Prices have been dropping in Barcelona since 2008, and it’s easily accessible, with great transport links to other European cities – this could be why the city is so popular with British buyers.
If you were looking for a home away from home, Alexander Koch de Gooreynd of Knight Frank also says, “Amsterdam offers a lovely lifestyle – quiet, safe and easily accessible”. Prices are also slightly more reasonable in the Dutch capital than in other European hubs of culture. “You can buy in great locations, similar to nice parts of London, but without the Mayfair prices”, he adds.
Even Venice is within your reach. Previously only thought of as a tourist city swamped with history, architecture, great food and stunning scenery, you can now afford a slice of this cultural pie. The idea of practically living within a Renaissance painting will probably never lose its appeal but that also means that demand is high, so snap up a property you like at a price you like when you see it. Ann-Marie Doyle, director of Venice Sotheby’s International Realty says, “We consider 2014 as a good year to buy before prices inevitably increase again because of high demand and relatively little supply.”