Are you dreaming of purchasing a home in Europe? The idea of owning European property is exciting, but also daunting if you don’t know where to start. Purchasing property abroad is a financially and emotionally rewarding experience, but also comes with challenges and risks. With so many options in the vast continent, narrowing down your choices for the perfect European spot to call home is difficult.
This article explore the ins and outs of buying property in Europe. Whether you’re a first-time European buyer or a seasoned veteran hoping to upgrade your property portfolio, making the right decisions is essential for a successful purchase. With this guide, learn key pieces of knowledge to make your move confidently and successfully. So if you’re ready to take the leap and invest in a European property, read on and take the necessary steps to end up with the right property for your needs.
Starter Guide to Buying Property in Europe
What is the Easiest European Country to Buy Property?
The ease of buying property in European countries depends on several factors, including the country’s laws regarding foreign ownership of property, the language barriers, and the complexity of the purchasing process. That being said, some countries have more straightforward procedures and fewer restrictions on foreign ownership.
For example, Spain and Portugal are often viewed as relatively easy to sell or purchase property in for foreigners. This is because both countries have relatively simple processes for property purchase and do not impose strict regulations on foreign ownership.
Which European Countries are the Cheapest to Purchase Property?
The cost of buying a house in a European country varies. However, some destinations are more affordable than others for property purchases. A word of warning, though. House prices are not the only thing that should determine where to purchase. For smooth investments, consider the buying process, extra purchasing costs, running and maintenance costs, and rules and regulations for non-resident property owners.
Bulgaria – One factor driving demand in the Bulgarian housing market is the relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries. The Bulgarian government has also introduced various incentives to encourage foreign investment, including a flat tax rate for individuals and corporations.
Hungary – The residential market in Budapest is active, with high demand for rental properties and homes for sale. As a result, prices have steadily risen in city centres. However, there is still a range of affordable housing options available in outer districts.
Romania – Office space in Bucharest has been in high demand from multinational corporations looking to establish a presence in Eastern Europe. The industrial and logistics sector has also been growing, partly thanks to Romania’s position as a regional transportation hub.
Poland – Poland’s strategic location and European Union membership make this country an attractive place for businesses and individuals. In residential markets, prices have risen in major cities like Warsaw, Krakow, and Gdansk. Student housing rental yields in Poland are also attractive.
Portugal – While not as cheap as other places on this list, Portugal in southern Europe is still considered relatively affordable outside popular tourist areas. In other parts of Portugal, like inland and coastal towns, there are also more affordable properties. Properties may need renovation or updating but are still good investment opportunities.
Where is the Most Expensive Property in Europe?
The most expensive properties are typically in major capital cities, like London, Paris, and Milan. As a general rule, these cities are what is termed Alpha cities. They drive a country’s economy and have heavy political influence. There are also high end exclusive resorts throughout Europe, that are typically associated with millionaire status.
London City, UK – London is known for high prices in affluent neighbourhoods like Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and Kensington. The combination of high demand, limited supply, foreign investment, location, and prestige contribute to the high cost of buying property in London. In addition, the vibrant city of London attracts people from all over the globe for work, education, and leisure. Therefore, the demand for property in London is very high, which drives up prices.
Paris, France – Prices in Paris are also among the highest in desirable city neighbourhoods like the 6th and 7th arrondissements. Private sellers want high selling prices due to the location and reputation. In addition, many historical properties in Paris have architectural value. These properties are often protected by strict preservation laws, which limit supplies and drive up prices.
Côte d’Azur, France – The French Riviera is home to exclusive and expensive properties in continental Europe, in resort towns like Saint-Tropez and Cannes. The Côte d’Azur is a world-renowned destination for luxury living, offering a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, stunning architecture, and a high quality of life. However, the prestige of living in this area often commands a premium price tag.
Can British Citizens Buy Property in Europe?
Yes, British citizens can buy properties in Europe. However, the rules and regulations changed following the UK’s exit from the European Union. As a result, UK citizens may face additional paperwork and fees when purchasing a house in the EU. They may also need a full-time visa or residency permit to live in the property. Additionally, UK citizens may no longer receive certain benefits and services, like healthcare.
Why Make Real Estate Investments in Europe
There are several reasons why investing in European is suitable for investors. Here are some key advantages:
- Economic Stability: Many places have stable economies with strong economic growth potential, making them attractive for real estate investment. Their well-established legal systems, provide international investors more protection and stability.
- Diversification: Investing provides diversification benefits by offering exposure to different currencies, property values, property types, and markets.
- High Rental Yields: Some places offer high rental yields, ensuring investors earn significant returns on property investments.
- Cultural diversity: Europe is a diverse region with various cultures, languages, and lifestyles, providing investments in different markets and strategies.
- Favourable regulations: Some places offer fair tax, interest rates, and regulatory environments for real estate investment, so investors can enter and operate in housing markets.
What Do Foreigners Buying European Property Need to Know
- Legal requirements: Additional legal requirements and paperwork may include obtaining a residency permit or registering with local authorities.
- Taxes and fees: Additional taxes and fees like stamp duty, property transfer tax, and legal fees may exist.
- Currency exchange: Consider currency exchange rates when purchasing property for sale as they impact final property prices.
- Language and cultural differences: Be prepared to navigate cultural differences and should consider working with a local real estate agent or lawyer.
- Financing options: You may face additional challenges when financing a property purchase in Europe, like non-eligibility for local mortgages or higher interest rates.
- Residency and visa requirements: Depending on where they purchase property for sale, foreign buyers may need residency permits or visas to live in the property full-time.
- Foreign buyers should stay informed of changes to EU immigration development and residency policies, which may impact their ability to live and work in Europe.
Can I Get Permanent Residence in Europe?
Yes, you can obtain permanent residence, but requirements and processes vary from country to country. In general, there are several ways to get permanent residency in Europe. For example, some European countries offer residency permits to individuals who invest a certain amount of money, like purchasing real estate, starting a business, or investing in government bonds.
In addition, individuals employed in a European country may be eligible for permanent residency. Otherwise, most European countries have standard procedures to apply for residency visas.
Real Estate Market Spotlight – Buy a Villa or Apartment
Whether to buy a villa or an apartment abroad depends on your preferences, budget, and lifestyle.
- Lifestyle: Do you prefer more space and privacy or the convenience of a lock-and-leave property? A villa offers more space and privacy, while an apartment is easier to maintain and secure.
- Location: Villas are more likely to be in suburban or rural areas, while apartments are more commonly found in urban areas near shops.
- Investment potential: The investment potential of villas and apartments varies. Research the local real estate market to determine which option may offer the best return on investment.
- Maintenance: Houses require more care due to larger outdoor areas, pools, or gardens. Consider the time and cost involved in maintaining the property.
- Resale value: The resale value of houses and apartments varies depending on location, condition, and demand.
Our Pick of the Best Places to Buy in Europe
France: COVID changed the way people buy in France. Previously, urban living in cities was trendy, but now, more people are looking to the Alps. For investors, it is also a win-win situation because Alpine resorts are transforming themselves from winter ski resorts into year-round tourism destinations by offering additional outdoor activities from Spring through to Autumn. Granted, the alpine prices are higher than in urban cities, but this niche is worth exploring for investors with a substantial budget.
Spain: The weather certainly helps, and it’s one reason why people visit Spain all year or decide to invest in property there. Spain is an excellent option for a vacation home or a permanent residence. Beaches to die for, architecture to admire, and fun. Spain is strategically located in Europe and is readily available. Property prices stay constant if you invest in an apartment or a villa, ensuring a good investment.
Portugal: This country offers potential for holiday homes, buy-to-rent properties, retirement homes, and cashing in on potential capital appreciation. Portugal maintains laid-back and traditional ways of life while still providing upmarket lifestyles with fantastic food, culture and history. It doesn’t get too hot, so spend afternoons sightseeing and settle down for those warm summer evenings.
Turkey: Only 5% of Turkey sits in Europe. However, more people have looked in this country’s direction over the last ten years for many reasons. Turkey offers everything: sun, sea, skiing, fantastic scenery, friendly people, value for money, freehold properties, low living costs, potential EU accession and great investment opportunities.
One strong reason for people buying property in Turkey is that the purchasing process is straightforward. If finances and paperwork are in place, receive your title deeds in a week, depending on the type of property you buy. Foreign property buyers either head to Istanbul for investment or to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, from which there are plenty of small towns and villages to choose from.
What to Do Next
Contact Us: Call now and chat with an agent about European property, what to expect, what to know and prominent cities and towns that will pique your interest. Alternatively, drop into our office on Broadway, Surbiton, Surrey, or fill in our message form to receive properties and guidance via email.
Browse Our Portfolio: Our international property portfolio includes villas and apartments for sale in various countries of Europe. Each listing has the price, location, home features and contact details to find out more or arrange viewings.
We are Spot Blue international real estate agents. We help property buyers and investors with market analysis, financial planning, portfolio management, and risk management. We hope this guide is helpful and has taken you one step further into buying property in Europe.