Revealed – demand for European living and property investment remains strong

16 December 2020 | Investment

The UK’s appetite for European property investment in 2020 has not been significantly hampered by the major disruptions of a global pandemic and the UK leaving the EU, ‘contrary to some expectations’.

That’s the view of Martin Dell, founder of online portal for European property buying, kyero.com, who says the outlook has been quite the opposite. Far from being off-putting, these global events have encouraged people to seize the day, to make it the year of ‘carpe diem’, and follow their dreams of moving overseas.   

Kyero, which was established in 2003 and has to date helped approximately 40,000 people purchase an overseas property in Europe, says its data shows that lockdown, in particular, has driven a significant increase in UK residents browsing home overseas.

Corona-nomads drive growth

When the first UK wide-lockdown was in place, there was a 30% rise in UK visitors browsing European property during April-June compared to the same time last year, and this is a trend Kyero expects to continue.

“There is also a demographic shift in terms of the types of people looking to move abroad. This year we have seen growth in a younger generation exploring a move to Europe: there was a 19% increase in interest in overseas property from those aged 25-34 between April-June 2020 compared to the same period last year,” Dell says.

“One of the key contributing trends appears to be the rising prevalence of remote working, with widespread acceptance and adoption of this style of work as a result of Covid. We are calling this the rise of the ‘Corona nomads’ – younger people, now working remotely full-time, who are considering a move abroad since they are able to live, work and play where they really want to.”

He adds: “With flexible working being stress-tested for many businesses this year, and the benefits mounting up for employees and staff alike, I can only see this trend going one way, and opening up huge further potential for the European overseas property market.”

He said British interest in foreign property on kyero.com outstripped interest from any other European country, ‘and indeed the rest of the world’, in the months immediately after the first UK lockdown.

Between April and June, the largest tranche of international visitors to the site came from Britain, illustrating a strong appetite from UK buyers.

Brexit does not stop play

“Another major influence on property at the movement is, of course, Brexit,” Dell says. “However, this does not seem to have impacted the UK population’s desire to buy in Europe in the way many predicted. International property sales in Spain, for example, have grown every year in the three years following the Brexit vote according to the Spanish government.”

He doesn’t expect property demand to be hit after the Brexit deadline, although any ‘resultant fluctuations in the strength of the pound against the euro’ is likely to have a strong impact on property purchases.

“The unpredictability around any potential Covid or Brexit-related economic downturns is also a key consideration over the coming months and years,” he continues.

“Furthermore, Brexit is likely to lead to stricter eligibility requirements, higher taxes, changes to pensions, healthcare, and generally (even) more red tape when it comes to buying in Europe. There may be added levels of complications depending on the deal/no deal outcome. Brits will essentially face the same entry requirements that all other non-EU buyers (who make up a significant population) have when buying in Europe after Brexit.”

The Spanish market

Despite this, interest in Spanish property remains high. Over the summer, Kyero saw an 18% growth in the number of British people viewing Spanish properties.

“Spanish property prices are attractive to many UK buyers, despite the fact they have been steadily increasing since 2015, with a total 26% rise in prices over the last five years, according to data released by the Spanish government. The current average (median) price is €280,000 (or £253,123).”

Dell says there are a range of other factors influencing interest in Spain, such as the Golden Visa, which offers non-EU property buyers the chance to apply for residence permits in exchange for investing at least €500,000 in property.

“This may become a more attractive option for some Brits as they seek to navigate new post-Brexit entry requirements,” Dell explains.

“However, it seems sensible to assume that Spain (and probably most other EU countries) won’t require visas for British nationals to visit or stay for up to 90 days within six months (after that, they’ll need to apply for a residence visa).”

He also says it seems sensible to assume that Spain and the UK will work towards an agreement on visas that favours both countries, especially as nearly 17 million Britons visit Spain every year and between 800,000 and one million already own a home there.

“The challenges facing people both in the UK and overseas have led to a shake-up in priorities across all areas of life,” Dell concludes.

“While there are hurdles to overcome, far from destroying dreams of buying in the sun, lockdown and Brexit seemed to have encouraged many to stop dreaming and start doing when it comes to big life decisions such as buying holiday property and/or moving permanently to where they really want to be.”


Resort offer workation packages

In a similar vein, Quinta do Lago – a luxury resort in the Algarve – is offering digital nomads the ‘ultimate workation package’ this winter.

“With almost 50% of employed adults in the UK working from home this year, there is a rising trend in people looking to maximise this flexibility and carry out their job from the luxury of a sunnier climate,” the resort says. 

With this in mind, Quinta do Lago has created two long-term rental packages, designed to provide guests with a smooth work set-up, along with access to everything the resort has to offer – ‘providing the perfect work/life balance and an escape from the cold British winter’.

These packages are available at The Magnolia Hotel when staying at one of their independent, boutique cottages, and in the luxury apartments of the new build development known as Reserva.

Work and play at Quinta’s Cottages

The Magnolia Hotel is launching new ‘Work & Play’ packages offering guests a 30% discount on their standard cottage rates throughout the winter season. It claims to be the ideal destination for young professionals looking to ‘work hard, play hard and experience a change of scene after nearly a full year of taking Zoom calls in their bedroom’.

Guests working from the wooden cottages, situated a short distance away from the main hotel, will have access to two bedrooms – one of which can be transformed into ‘the dream home office’ with all the necessary amenities and high-speed broadband. There is also a spacious kitchen, bright lounge area and patio – ‘perfect for a spot of emails with a coffee and pastel de nata’.

Guests receive complimentary access to the hotel’s outdoor pool and tennis court, vintage Dutch bikes, a 10% discount at The Campus (the resort’s sporting complex) and special guest rewards at the resort’s restaurants and retail partners.

It’s not cheap, though, with the ‘Work & Play at Quinta’s Cottages’ packages starting from £2,135 per month at the Magnolia Hotel.

Reserva’s long-term rentals

Quinta do Lago’s newest development of 26 unique garden and penthouse apartments, Reserva, is also aiming to provide the ultimate luxury workation, ‘ideal for the city slicker or start-up hipster alike’.

The new build, sold off plan in 2019, is now offering a 20% discount on long-term rentals, meaning guests ‘can enjoy the pleasures of a holiday without scarifying their annual leave balance’.

Each apartment is kitted out with its own private swimming pool, a 24-hour concierge and seaside views, with renters also receiving access to the exclusive Residents’ Club located in the heart of the development and featuring a 25-metre pool, a gym, spa treatment rooms, tennis and padel courts, a members’ lounge, events space, a children’s play area and restaurant and bar.

Again, it’s far from cheap, with long-term rental apartments at Reserva starting from £8,012 per month through the guest services team (www.quintareserva.com/; (+351 289 396 097). 

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.