Over the last few months, interest has surged in property overseas. Covid-19 and lockdown has had many contemplating purchasing a home abroad and dreaming of being able to travel again. Particularly in the U.K, residents have been searching for property overseas as much as they ever have before. The cancellation of planned holidays and a restricted lifestyle has made many consider the thought of purchasing a getaway holiday home, in case something like this happens again.
To really identify how much pent-up demand property searches have received, look at the astonishing figures below for pre-lockdown, June 2020 and June 2019 search results. As you can see from the image, figures have increased considerably across Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, France and Dubai. Not only have they increased across these 5 countries, in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus they have increased by 82.82%, 86.20% and 125% respectively.
You can see initially these countries suffered a dip once lockdown first arose, but they soon rocketed. As well as an increase in searches, more people have been entering the market. In May this year, the number of new users looking for overseas property was 41% higher when compared with May last year.
Although the above figures are great for the property market, they show the hesitation for people to go back to their regular package holiday or air bnb style breaks for fears of not having the space they would want to relax. One Estate Agent in Spain said there have been a lot of enquiries for private villas and apartments with large terraces - showing that people are looking for enough outdoor space so they can be secluded from possible crowded beaches and hotel pools.
The above figures are not to say we are out of the woods just yet, but they are a great sign of recovery in the property market, and the hope for those searches to turn into some actual sales. Another Estate Agent in Spain said the following: “Of course, we’ve spoken to clients who are putting their plans on hold, waiting to see what life will be like post-coronavirus, which is totally understandable. But we’ve also spoken to new customers who had never previously thought about buying a property in Spain.”
“Being confined has made them reconsider their lives in cities and towns, as has the thought of returning to being crammed onto buses and trains – and they’ve concluded it would be preferable to be somewhere with more of an outdoor lifestyle, better weather, access to swimming pools and beaches.”
“Then we have a separate set of customers, who were already searching for a second home on the Costa Blanca before the coronavirus outbreak, but who were previously taking their time and happy to continue their search over a couple of years. This crisis has accelerated their desire to own in Spain sooner rather than later, and they now want to finalise a purchase as soon as possible.”
“Of course, we still don’t know how any of this translates into genuine interest or transactions, as we’re still not fully out of lockdown here in Spain, international flights haven’t resumed and we’re still in a period of uncertainty – but it does seem like there is a lot of new interest in people relocating or having a second home here.”
So, what do the experts say?
Property expert Miles Shipside, suggests that people are more motivated to commit to an overseas purchase now…
“Lockdown has allowed many people time to re-appraise their lives, which has prompted lots of home-hunters to get serious about buying elsewhere in Europe. In particular, countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal have cultures that are familiar to us, and their warmer climates and reasonably priced rural stock will appeal to those who have been recently denied foreign travel.
“Social distancing would be far more straightforward if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford your own overseas pad. If other holiday-makers feel the same, then they may wish to rent your property, helping it bring in an income when you are not there.”
“It’s still early days as we’re not out of lockdown yet and most airlines are still shut, but this is an indication that this has been a life-changing period for many who are re-appraising both how and where they want to live.”