The UK Property Conundrum
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As the general trend to move abroad develops (in part due to increased cost of living versus a decrease in quality of life in the UK), so is the lessening difficulty of doing so. Of course, citizens of the UK can freely move within the EU (although staying in one place for long requires additional paperwork). The benefits of new climes, a new language and the possibility of new experience is too much for many who might see the UK as dragging itself through depression (and the weather last year was rather rainy, wasn’t it?) There’s no reason to blame anyone for leaving, but hopefully they’ll have some experience with the language first.
However, other themes to do with migration within and outside the UK have also started to be noted. From the last census, the wider UK has seen a rise in population (particularly rural areas), as city populations have shrunk. Also, more and more people are buying second homes (provided loans can be secured for such a practise) as many see the dip as an opportunity. As such, insurance policy holders are profiting too, unoccupied property insurance, cover against tenants, and so forth, are all boosting revenue for insurers.
Another interesting fact is that when you compare the UK to Europe, one of the many differences shared between the two is the disparity of self-built homes. For example, 80% of new properties in Austria are self-built, while in Scandinavia this figure is around 55% (taken from National Self Build Association.) In the UK, meanwhile, this figure is lower than 10%. For many, self-builds touted a way of boosting the economy, by providing the struggling construction sector more business. Also it makes a change from the often depressing identikit new builds spotting the landscape. Perhaps rather than moving to a new home, one should consider the benefit of building new, and retaining the things that make one happy to be home.
The traditional go-between for many wealthy British citizens is the holiday home. Areas of the South West, and places abroad (such as Majorca, Spain, and France) are all increasingly populated by sun-seekers and property investors. Of course with owning two homes, there’s more than enough to think about. Consider split possessions, different tax rules, various insurance policies to consider, such as holiday home insurance as well as personal cover rules. If an owner plans to rent the house as a form of income, then there are further considerations too.
Essentially, we have a very different attitude to holiday homes to our continental peers. I, for one, blame the weather. We have to go abroad to seek the Sun, whereas the French, Italians and Spanish seem to bask in it all year. For this reason a second home is quite a popular alternative, whereas Europeans can have both rolled into one. It’s a worthy consideration from the point of a second income, but I feel a growth in the self-build area would see a wide variety of interesting houses, although suburban living would see huge growth in such a scenario. My hope is that one day technology, coupled with an increase in Stay-At-Home business would see a rise in the trend.