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Soggy summer sees dreams of sun, sea, sand and second homes


This year's dismal summer has prompted record numbers of Brits to look at buying property in sunnier climates.

According to Yorkshire Bank's research, this year's soggy summer has now got more than two in five Brits (43%) considering the idea of buying a place in the sun as a holiday home, a place to retire, an investment or even as a cheaper way on to the property ladder.

To help people buy abroad, Yorkshire Bank has launched its 'Buy Abroad, Feel At Home' package.  This unique and comprehensive start to finish service seeks to make buying a property in Spain as easy as buying next door.

Research shows that the number of Brits who already own properties abroad rose 45% to 800,000 in the last couple of years. The most popular destination continues to be Spain, with the majority of going to the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol.1

Yorkshire Bank found the biggest draw for foreign living is the guarantee of sunny weather (66%) and the dream of a more relaxed pace of life (55%).

What's to gain in Spain?

According to Yorkshire Bank, almost half (45%) of those surveyed would follow in the footsteps of Hollywood stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, or food guru, Nigella Lawson, and buy a property as a holiday home in Spain for themselves and their family to enjoy.

Nearly a third (31%) of overseas house-hunters are planning their retirement, hoping to spend all their winters enjoying the sun in Spain.

Almost a third (32%) Brits see buying a property abroad as a long term investment and more than one in seven (15%) would consider buying abroad as their best option get a foot on the property ladder.

Biggest Concerns

  • Buying a house in the UK can be a daunting prospect but, according to Yorkshire Bank's research, Brits have greater concerns when it comes to buying property abroad:
  • 44% fear being ripped off as they don't understand the buying process abroad
  • 35% would find it stressful trying to find all the necessary professionals, such as solicitors and estate agents, to make the purchase of a retreat in the sun a success
  • 34% have concerns about how they would even go about negotiating the sale in a foreign language
  • 33% are worried that they might be taken advantage of as they wouldn't fully understand what their foreign speaking legal advisors was really saying to them
  • 35% have concerns after hearing about the 'Spanish Land Grab', where legal loopholes could see property owners no longer owning the land their property is built on

Steve Reid, Yorkshire Bank's director of retail banking said: "Buying a house, let alone buying one in a foreign country, can be a challenging business.  Despite this, Brits are still convinced that owning property in Spain is a financial decision worth pursuing.  It's therefore important that buyers can use a trusted UK bank and deal with an English-speaking representative who will see them through the process from start to finish.

"We have partnered with a UK law firm, Davies Arnold Cooper, who have a practice in Spain to provide customers with a comprehensive service.  This means people can avoid the worry of having to deal with numerous people or negotiate in a different language.  With an appointed Yorkshire Bank representative to take them through the entire process, customers won't face baffling conversations with Spanish lawyers or be unclear on the house buying process in Spain."

Investment savvy Brits or are we a bit confused by it all?

According to Yorkshire Bank's research nearly one in three (32%) Brits would look to invest in property in Spain but when it comes to deciding where to buy and with the best rental prospects, some investors are far from savvy with their choices.

  • Just 20% would buy a place near an airport
  • Just 18% would buy in a popular tourist resor
  •  Over half (54%) would buy a low maintenance property
  •  44% aren't thinking of potential renters and would decorate the property to their own taste
  • And while 25% of people think they could get by living in Spain with the help of a Spanish phrase book as most people speak some English, just 4% would feel totally confident handling all aspects of buying property abroad themselves

Amanda Lamb: A Place In The Sun

Amanda Lamb, from 'A Place In The Sun', said: "When it comes to buying property abroad, particularly when you're hoping to rent it out, it's vital to think about what's going to appeal to other holidaymakers. While you may love leopard print carpets and ornaments adorning your own home, it's important to think about how this is going to appeal to others particularly when they're paying to spend time there. The practicalities of maintaining the property while you're back in the UK are also a big factor. Who's going to dust all the ornaments and vacuum the sand out of your carpets when you're not there? Attractive décor but with minimum maintenance is key.

"It's also important to consider the location of your holiday home. Although some people like to get away from other 'Brits abroad', you'll increase your chances of renting the property if you make it as accessible and as appealing as possible to the maximum number of people. Considering a tourist-focussed resort close to an airport to make the most of budget airlines flying to Spain can be the best option. Taking professional advice throughout the process and going into it with a full understanding of what you're doing is paramount."

Notes to Editor

Research conducted on behalf of Yorkshire Bank and sister Clydesdale Bank by TNS on a sample of 1,000 people during August 2007.

1 Source: Department for Communities and Local Government / Mintel - October 2006

About Yorkshire Bank
Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Yorkshire Bank has 190 retail branches, a strong personal customer base and a growing business capability in the North of England and the Midlands. Yorkshire Bank is a trading name of Clydesdale Bank plc, which is a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies. Yorkshire Bank joined the Group in 1990. In 2006, Yorkshire Bank was voted the UK's 'Best Business Bank' by the Forum of Private Business.

Product Information
Yorkshire Bank's 'Buy Abroad, Feel At Home' service will manage customers through the whole buying process. They will be able to:

  •  Arrange financing - whether re-mortgaging current UK property to release equity, or a Euro mortgage in Spain
  • Open a Spanish bank account
  •  Provide English speaking legal support - including conveyancing, Spanish wills, ensuring the property the customer is buying is legally theirs, registering the property in the customer's name and paying property taxes
  •  Liaise with the Notary Public in Spain to arrange the completion ceremony
  •  Ensure the funds are made available on the completion date
  • Watch the currency markets to help make the most of the customer's money
  • Transfer monies to Spain to make mortgage payments, pay for utilities etc.

For more media information contact:

Carol Young    
Yorkshire Bank  
0800 066 5998 or 07764 975 460

Diane Roskell / Nicola Dempster / Rebecca Malish
Ptarmigan Consultants
0113 242 1155 or 07921 912336 / /

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