Why Spain is still a Hot Spot for British Retirees

Why Spain is still a Hot Spot for British Retirees
We'd like to introduce award winning journalist Ginetta Vedrickas who will be contributing to our blog in the coming months.  She has written on property for most major titles in the UK and overseas including The Times, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Independent, The National, Sunday Business Post, London Evening Standard and Daily Express. Passionate about all things property related, her favourite subjects are how to make your home work for you and how to earn some cash from it. An Airbnb host, Ginetta lets her house out as a location and enjoys house swapping.

Retire to the Spanish Costas for sun, sea and sangria!  

If ever there was a dream shared by the older generation, retiring to Spain must rank as the ultimate. The love affair between the UK and España dates back to the 1970s when the first package holidays began and you only have to look at TV shows like Benidorm to see its current appeal. Today, for many thousands of us, buying your own slice of Spanish paradise is the perfect way to spend your retirement.

Bargain homes in the sun 

retiringnexttobeachspainopt.jpgOne reason for Spain’s popularity is the price of property. Consistently lower than in the UK, attractively priced dream homes are still affordable, especially for those with plenty of equity in their British homes. Statistics from real estate platform Tranio show that typical British buyers in Spain are aged 45–64, average budgets are around €200,000, and most buyers prefer to buy in resort towns by the sea. The bulk of buyers use assets rather than mortgages with more buying new homes than any other nationality.

Spanish property hotspots

The most popular destinations are Andalusia, Valencia and the Canary Islands and, so far this year, a whopping 30% of Google searches by Brits seeking property in Europe focussed on Spain. “The activity on Google search is particularly telling,” says Tranio’s analyst Yulia Kozhevnikova who finds that most British searches centre upon Almeria on the Costa Blanca, Malaga and Marbella on the Costa del Sol, with Murcia on the Costa Calida on the rise. “Everybody wants to live or spend their holidays as comfortably and as close to the sea as possible,” says Mary Dunne of Marbella-based estate agency MP Dunne, “however, golf lovers are a rare exception, they prefer living close to golf greens.”
With the trend for buying maintenance-free new homes, finding a trustworthy developer is crucial. A familiar name in the UK, Taylor Wimpey España have been building in Spain for 60 years making them popular among British buyers. Sales director Marc Pritchard explains what tops most buyers’ wish-lists. “British citizens are looking for quality homes that offer great value. Spacious, beachfront homes are the biggest winners and, when you can buy the same house for half the price overseas, it makes you think twice.”

Do your research

It certainly pays to do your homework and think long and hard about what you want from your overseas property. Deciding whether to move permanently or buy a holiday home is crucial. Many buyers opt for ‘lock up and leave’ apartments where initially they spend holidays, gradually spending longer periods as they slow their pace of life back in the UK. Sequre International’s Graham Davidson advises buyers to try a viewing trip, where you can check out lots of properties, with no pressure to buy. “This is never going to be an overnight decision, and it’s important for anyone considering this journey to really do their research and compile all the necessary information before they begin. This involves looking at finances, planning the moving process and possibly selling an existing property so organisation is key.”
Retiring abroad is a big step but it makes sense to take it slowly. Before selling up and moving entirely, renting your UK property out could be a temporary solution whilst renting in Spain to see if you like it. This also gives you the opportunity to take a long, hard look at a lifetime’s worth of possessions and, anything you can’t bear to part with, can go into storage.

We did it!

retiringtospainopt.jpgBarry and Tracy Mills from Essex have bought a townhouse at new development La Vila Paradis, on Playa Paraiso Beach in Villajoyosa, around 20 minutes from central Alicante on the Costa Blanca. Buying through Taylor Wimpey Espana, they paid €430,000 for their property which initially they will use for holidays as the couple still work in the UK. “The gated development had been well thought out and its quality fixtures and fittings impressed us,” say the Mills who chose Spain for its ‘plentiful sunshine, relaxed way of life and attractive cost of living compared to the UK’.

Barry and Tracy found the buying process less stressful than expected ‘thanks to an honest and helpful sales team’ but it was the seafront location that really sold them on their dream home where- one day- they hope to spend as much time as possible. “We will eventually retire there and plan to spend several months a year at a time at the house.”

Have you already or do you plan on retiring in the Sun?  If so, please do share your own experience in the comments.

Moving abroad?  Read our 10 Tips to Reduce Stress.

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