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Brexit bargains: Count us in

Brexit bargains: Count us in

There are bargains galore on the Continent, as vendors get jittery about the EU referendum.

With just 6 days to go before Britain decides to remain in or leave the EU, hysteria is reaching fever pitch. After all, David Cameron has warned that voting to go solo could jeopardise world peace (well, that of the Continent, at least). And the chancellor, George Osborne, has induced even greater panic by predicting that, should the Brexiteers prevail, the value of homes in the UK could fall by 18% over the next two years.

Yet for Britons already settled in other EU countries — the UN estimates they number about 1.2m people — or who have long harboured the dream of a property in a sunny spot not too far from home, there’s a host of other uncertainties to chew over. “Cameron has struck a deal with the other EU leaders for changes to the British membership of Europe, but what doesn’t seem to have been talked about in great detail is the effect of a full exit,” says Peter Esders, commercial director of Judicare, which provides legal advice and support to international property purchasers.

“People buying and owning property within Europe have several concerns. For example, many Brits have bought properties there, rather than further afield, due to the ease of travel — the short flight times and the lack of visas. If you had to apply for a visa each time you travelled to your holiday home, even for a long weekend, would this put you off buying abroad?”

Other big worries, Esders says, include tax, retirement, pensions and healthcare rights. He has even fielded queries from clients asking whether they should apply for Spanish citizenship in advance of buying a property there, just in case. Add to this the volatility of the pound and the fact that estate agents and international mortgage brokers are reporting a lull in business over the past few months — not to mention talk of buyers having “Brexit break clauses” inserted into contracts, in case they want to pull out — and you might think we’re all putting purchasing plans on hold. But you’d be wrong.

Rightmove Overseas reports that, compared to the first quarter of 2015, the first three months of this year saw a 5% hike in searches for EU and non-EU countries, suggesting that, although some buyers are looking further afield, there are still plenty of us looking closer to home, particularly in our perennial favourites: Spain, France and Portugal. And while many vendors are holding off until the landscape is more certain, others have slashed prices in a bid to offload their properties before the end of June.

Cue the great Brexit property sale. On the Côte d’Azur, for example, chateaus are being reduced by €1m, and on the swanky Costa Smeralda, in Sardinia, seaside villas have seen their prices cut by up to 15%. In ski resorts, developers have been adding sweeteners such as free ski passes; on the Costas, and in Umbria and Tuscany, more and more vendors are trying to seal the deal before the votes are in.

Here’s where to bag a bargain. The Algarve retreat: was €950,000, now €750,000 From the front door of this five-bedroom villa, a short drive from the golf resort of Vale do Lobo, you can walk through Ria Formosa Natural Park to Praia do Garrao and Praia do Ancao beaches. There’s a log-burning fire in the living area, and three sets of patio doors lead out to the garden, the barbecue area and a kidney-shaped pool. From the terrace, you’ll glimpse the sparkling sea through the pine trees.

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For more information on buying a property for rental income contact Ideal Homes: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434, or www.idealhomesportugal.com email sales@idealhomesportugal.com

 

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