Photo: Bert Kaufmann
Rome is leading the rebound in demand for European property, reveals new research from TheMoveChannel.com. The portal’s latest Hotspots Index shows that the Italian capital was the most searched-for location in the world in Q1 2015, as overseas buyers flock to the continent.
Rome accounted for 1.48 per cent of location searches in the first three months of the year, climbing one spot in TheMoveChannel.com’s Hotspots Index from Q4 2014. Rome is the first of two Italian hotspots in the Top 10, with Como sliding one place from the previous quarter to seventh place.
Spain soared into the silver spot, with Malaga climbing three places to become the second most searched-for location. While interest surged in the Costa del Sol, demand for the Balearics also boomed, with Mallorca leaping 10 places in the Index to become the third most popular hotspot. Malaga and Mallorca accounted for 1.45 per cent and 1.02 per cent of searches in Q1 2015 respectively.
Portugal followed closely in fourth place, as Albufeira accounted for 0.96 per cent of location searches in the three months to March 2015. With property prices now showing their first signs of rising following the recession, and the Golden Visa scheme encouraging investment from outside of the EU, the Portuguese property market is now the most widely sought-after on TheMoveChannel.com: the country was home to 14 out of the top 50 hotspots in Q1 2015, up from 11 in Q4 2014.
Spain and Portugal have both enjoyed record levels of enquiries in the past six months, but demand for European property is now spreading across the continent. France made its debut entry in the Hotspots Index Top 10, as the Dordogne received the sixth biggest share of searches (0.81 per cent). Greece also entered the top 10 for the first time: Corfu jumped 19 places in the chart into eight place.
TheMoveChannel.com Director Dan Johnson comments: “Europe has never been more attractive to overseas buyers than it is now. Mortgage rates are low in France, prices are rising again in Portugal, Spain’s market has bottomed out. With the pound at a seven-year high against the euro, spending power for Brits is exceptionally strong. Greece accounting for six of the top 50 hotspots – up from four in Q4 2014 – shows that, while Greece’s economic uncertainty could be bad news for the euro, it is certainly good news for buyers.”
Italy’s property market has enjoyed a steady flow of returning buyers from overseas, as the exchange rate between the pound and the euro favours British buyers, who remain enchanted by the country’s dolce vita. The renaissance of interest has been driven by major cities, such as Rome and Florence, according to the Italian revenue agency.
The spending power of British buyers in Spain has risen 15 per cent in the past 12 months, driven by exchange rates between the pound and euro and low Spanish property prices. The Costa del Sol remains the most popular market for Brits, with booming tourist figures and rising values ensuring that buyers do not wait around for long.
Mountains, beaches and sunshine. Mallorca’s diverse landscape has attracted a growing number of buyers in recent years. Brits dominate, thanks to the favourable exchange rates with the euro, but the island’s appeal has been boosted even further by the resilient nature of the Balearics property market, with prices now rising having fallen by the lowest amount since the market peak. Agents are now reporting a surge of sales in the area by up to 28 per cent in 2014.
Albufeira was the most searched-for property location in Portugal two years ago. Since then, demand has spread wider, as the recovery moves across the country. Nonetheless, this tourist resort in the Algarve region retains its strong appeal to both holidaymakers and holiday home hunters, thanks to its high quality golf courses and rising property prices. The region has now risen four places since Q4 2014 in TheMoveChannel.com Hotspots Index, making it the fourth most searched-for location in the world.
Located in the Valencian Community, the Province of Alicante is another regular among holiday home hunters. With tourist arrivals estimated to top 10 million last year, the area remains a key driver of foreign demand for real estate. Prices are now more than 40 per cent below the 2007 peak but have bottomed out, making the area more attractive to overseas investors. With Spain now the most popular country on TheMoveChannel.com, Alicante’s appeal is only set to continue climbing.
France’s mortgage rates have been at historic lows for some time. Combined with the country’s relatively stagnant price growth, French property has become an increasingly affordable bargain for overseas buyers. While the Riviera tends to dominate enquiries on TheMoveChannel.com, searches have risen for Dordogne, as buyers – particularly Brits – are wooed by the romantic villages are fairy tale castles.
Italy’s lifestyle appeal has fuelled a resurge in demand from overseas buyers in the second half of 2014. Como has always been a favourite among British buyers, in particular, with the region of Lombardy traditionally attracting the second highest number of enquiries in Italy on TheMoveChannel.com.
Greece may be in a period of economic uncertainty, but the country’s weakening of the euro has prompted a surge in searches from eager property buyers. With the pound and US dollar at historic highs against the single currency, there has arguably never been a better time to snap up a Greek island home for a bargain. The Ionian Islands make up one in six of all Greek enquiries on TheMoveChannel.com, with Corfu at the top of the list.
Cyprus has seen buyers return in force throughout the past year, with sales rising six months in a row in August 2014, according to the Department of Lands and Surveys. Protaras is located in the resort-fuelled region of Famagusta, where sales climbed 100 per cent in October 2014. Located near Ayia Napa, the town’s sandy shorelines and blue sky match the attractive range of apartments, villas and restaurants, making it a popular location for a holiday home.
The second largest city in Poland, Krakow is an important cultural and economic hub that has transformed from a tiny village to a major business centre. Last year, commercial property fuelled demand from investors, as the country’s political, legal and economic stability became even more attractive during a time of wider unrest and uncertainty.
The full top 50 hotspots on TheMoveChannel.com in Q1 2015 is as follows:
|5||Spain/Province of Alicante||0.92%||-2|
|16||Portugal/Olhos de Agua||0.52%||17|
|20||Spain/Costa Blanca South||0.48%||17|
|26||Portugal/Armacao de Pera||0.44%||-5|
|33||United Kingdom/Milton Keynes||0.41%||New|
|42||Portugal/Ilha do Faial||0.37%||New|
|43||Spain/Costa Blanca North||0.37%||New|