Whether you are buying a villa or apartment abroad for investment purposes or as a holiday home, find out more about the area with Downtown International.
Foreigners have been moving to Australia for a long time – attracted by the average of 300 days of sunshine per year, the beautiful sea and beaches, and the fact that in many ways the country is similar to the UK (the same language, the same education system, and, of course, driving on the same side of the road), just with a higher standard of living. Australia is renowned for its more care-free way of life, following the motto ‘work to live, not live to work’. And, of course, if you consider that you can purchase a four bedroom property, close to the beach, for the same price as a one bedroom flat in many cities around the world – it’s no wonder that droves of foreigners flock to Australia every year.
The Australian Government welcomes foreign investment. The Australian Federal Government’s policy seeks to channel foreign investment to increase the supply of new housing and benefit the local building industry. Foreigners can purchase dwellings that add to the housing stock. This includes ‘new dwellings’, off plan properties under construction or yet to be built or vacant land for development. Foreigners cannot buy ‘established dwellings’ as investment properties or as homes.
Buying property in Canada is very easy for expats and a viable option for those living in the country long-term. Canada has an open-door policy for foreign property ownership, and affordability is also an attractive feature, as Canadian housing prices are generally lower than those in other comparable global destinations. When it comes to buying or owning property in Canada, non-residents have the same rights of ownership as residents and citizens of Canada. From a residency point of view, if expats plan to stay in Canada for six months or less each year, the government considers them a non-resident, which means they can still open a bank account and buy property. If, however, a person plans to live in Canada for more than six months per year, they must apply for immigrant status.
Many expats buy a second home in Canada as a destination retreat. Since Canada is such a large country there are many options for expats; from the East Coast, to Central Canada and the West Coast. Toronto and Vancouver are the most expensive cities in which to purchase property, but there are many other cities such as Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Ottawa to choose from.
An irresistible sun-drenched landscape of verdant forests, soaring mountains and white-sand beaches lapped by azure seas awaits property buyers in Cyprus. All of which is dotted with castles, churches, monasteries and mosaics. It's easy to get all romantic about this wonderful island. After all Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love, was born from its waves.
Another major draw of life here is the home from home vibe in a Mediterranean setting, resulting from Britain's historical links to the island. They even drive on the left-hand side of the road around here. From the capital Nicosia in the island's heart to the major resorts of Larnaca and Limassol on the south coast and cultural Paphos on the west coast, property buyers are spoilt for choice.
Whether your destination of choice is Paris, Marseilles, Lyon or any smaller city in between, you’ll find a plethora of options in property for sale, ranging from massive estates to tiny apartments to undeveloped plots of land. While it seems like the French are missing out on investing in their own country-- just 57% own their own property-- their reluctance to buy has left a wide market open for expats and foreign investors. And despite some tricky laws and a load of taxes, many foreigners have taken the opportunity to buy into the European country.
The property buying process is similar to that of other European countries, but one area where the process in France is much better is that of transparency and security. Off-plan property remains a popular way for both investors and second home owners to buy real estate in France. It allows developers to secure buyers and capital before beginning construction but is equally beneficial for buyers who can pay for their property often at a lower rate and benefit from favourable progressive payment options. They may even have the opportunity to personalize their property. France is one of the most secure countries in the world when it comes to buying off-plan property as buyers’ interests and money are protected by a number of clauses along the way. Of course, whilst there is a robust framework of consumer rights for property investors in France, the law always has its limits so buyers still need to take a commercial approach towards their investment.
Greece is a perennial favourite with foreign property buyers and it's easy to see why. From the capital Athens - often referred to the cradle of western civilisation - on the mainland to the 227 inhabited islands out in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, you won't struggle to find a corner of this fascinatingly diverse country that suits you. With so many wonderful destinations to choose from, the only issue is deciding where to start your search. The coastline alone, including several thousand sun-drenched islands, is around four times longer than either France or Spain. Once here you'll be able to enjoy the history, culture and relaxed lifestyle that Greece is so famous for.
With a different language, legal system and currency; even a different alphabet, it’s no wonder that many international buyers are put off buying a home in Greece. While there are big differences between the legal processes of purchasing a property in Greece compared to the UK, Ireland or the US, it is far from impossible. Millions of us have been seduced by the beauty of Greece and thousands have bought homes there successfully. The best bit is your budget will go a lot further around here, with Greek property remaining comparatively cheap compared to other European countries. While improving conditions mean prices won't remain depressed forever. Good news for the future value of your home.
A country of romance, art and la dolce vita, Italy is a sumptuous feast for the senses. With cottages, houses, villas and apartments available throughout the country, there is plenty of property in Italy to choose from.
It's tempting to think of Italy as the country with everything - but that's exactly what it seems to have! Incredible scenery, some of the finest artwork and architecture on the planet, mouth-watering cuisine, fine wines, beautiful beaches, quaint villages, bustling cities and, of course, plenty of property for sale. Property in Italy ranges from cottages in the Tuscan hills to apartments in the centre of Rome. So, where do you begin when choosing a property in Italy? Umbria offers similar treats, but it lesser known and less crowded than some parts of Tuscany. Abruzzo and the stunning northern Dolomites are ideal for anyone looking for property in Italy nestled in the mountains. Lazio is home to the incredible city of Rome, with its historic architecture, ruins and ancient monuments. Other cities such as Milan, with its elegant style and Venice, famous for its canals, are wonderful places to find property in Italy. Whatever your tastes and budget, there is sure to be a property in Italy to suit you.
New Zealand is a naturally very beautiful country with a great climate and a population of only 4 million living in a land area much larger than the UK for example. Should you decide to live permanently in your property in New Zealand you'd benefit from strong health and education systems and a lifestyle second to none. With the current weakness in currency, those purchasing property can generally purchase a property vastly superior to what they previously owned in their home country; there is also no stamp duty or capital gains tax!
For around £100,000 you can buy a large three bedroom family house in New Zealand on a 600sqm plot of land in any one of the country's regional centres. Quality property in Auckland, homes in Wellington and property in Christchurch can be more expensive as they are in key buying areas, although very good homes in these cities can be found for just £200,000. Many foreigners travelling to New Zealand do not need a visa for entry and many purchase property in New Zealand to spend a few months a year enjoying their second home there. Buying a home in New Zealand is one of the more simple processes due to the lack of restrictions and the variety of visas for prospective migrants on offer. The lack of people, beautiful open countryside, un-crowded beaches and good quality health and education systems along with a low crime rate combine to make property in New Zealand a very attractive option. With over seven mainstream airlines now flying to New Zealand, flying over to your property in New Zealand is now easier than ever.
From the glittering waters of the Silver Coast to the quiet beaches of The Algarve, Portugal is a country with something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a villa in The Algarve or an apartment in Lisbon, there is a great range or property in Portugal.
Despite being one of the oldest overseas property destinations, Portugal still has a huge amount to offer foreign buyers. The traditional Algarve is one of the best golfing regions in the world, while the Silver Coast north of Lisbon has managed to attract more buyers recently, while still keeping its character and some beautiful fishing villages intact. Further north is the Green Coast, with dramatic Atlantic coastlines and some of the best-value property in the whole of Portugal. The risk in buying Portuguese property is low but for medium to high long-term returns; and building and construction in Portugal is more regulated than some foreign markets giving investors greater peace of mind. Enthusiasm among foreigners for Portuguese property has shown no sign of ebbing. For example, according to figures from the Portuguese Real Estate Association, Portugal receives around 2 million British tourists a year; and between 17,000 and 18,000 Brits buy property in Portugal annually, with over 50% opting for homes in the Algarve.
Currently foreigners buy at least 13% of the properties sold in Spain not to mention the many more who live in the country unofficially on a temporary basis to escape the elements back home. So what makes Spain such a popular destination with foreign property buyers? That's easy to answer: the golden visa, the relaxed lifestyle, the food, the passion of Barcelona, the majesty of Madrid, the Blue Flag beaches, the coastal resorts, the diversity of the costas, the seemingly endless supply of sunshine, the championship golf courses - the list goes on.
The ease of getting to and from your villa or apartment overlooking the shimmering Mediterranean, or your renovated finca in the Spanish countryside, is another major draw. Year-round, low-cost flights are available from airports across the world to all corners of Spain and you can even pack up a car and jump on a ferry from the south of England to northern Spain.
Turkey is a seductive mix of culture, stunning scenery, friendly villages, delicious cuisine and pristine beaches with plenty of villas, apartments and houses for sale.
Turkey is one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world. Modernising at a rapid pace, it's now the only secular Muslim country and combines a heady mix of east and western cultural influences. The country has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, with many of history's greatest civilisations calling Turkey home. You can find wonderful ruins (from Troy to Side), ancient churches, forts and castles all throughout Turkey. It is an incredibly friendly country, even in the bustling streets of Istanbul. Head to the smaller villages on the Turkish coast and you'll find the communities warm and welcoming. Turkey's 800km of shoreline is lapped by four different seas, making it a dazzling place for beach property and fun in the sun. Resorts and villages such as Altinkum, Fethiye, Antalya, Marmaris and Bodrum attract thousands of people every year for summers by the sea and property in Turkey is as varied as the country itself.
From the immaculate sandy beaches to towering luxury hotels, Dubai is the most striking of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, along with Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. With villas, apartments and larger houses for sale, there is a great range of property in the UAE.
Although foreigners can by in property in some other Emirates, Dubai is renowned for its stunning, ultra-modern skyscrapers, dazzling glass buildings and chic boutiques which attracts the international jet set and anyone looking for a touch of luxury. On the other hand, Dubai is also home to traditional souks, wind towers, vast windswept deserts and bustling bazaars. This fascinating mix of modern and ancient makes Dubai one of the most exciting places in the world. For those wanting to invest in Dubai property, choices range from stylish ‘City’ and ‘Marina’ apartments, luxury Palm and Golf Resort villas to the newer growth and higher-rental yield developments of Jumeirah Village and Dubailand.
With one of the strongest property markets in the world, the United Kingdom is appealing to live in, invest in, to retire or study. It has beauty from the Highlands of Scotland to the South Downs of England, from the Fens of East Anglia to the sandy beaches of Wales and the rolling hills of Northern Ireland, and all the villages and friendly market towns between them. The UK boasts some of the world’s great cities, including the reborn Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester and Liverpool. If you haven’t visited these cities for a while you’ll be impressed; they have recovered from their post-industrial past with billion-pound investments in commercial centres, infrastructure and housing. London, boosted by the success of the 2012 Olympics, lays claim to have overtaken New York as the pre-eminent global city, a beacon of design, enterprise and efficiency.
You can own a piece of all this. The UK has a busy and safe property market where, as the locals say, an Englishman’s home is his castle. Property rights and stable government have been cornerstones of British democracy, as has Britons’ well-known sense of fair play. There are no restrictions on people from overseas buying a property (although owning property does not, in itself, give you a right to live there) and many overseas buyers have taken up the offer. Why? Because buying a home in the UK can be relatively easy, provided you have all the information available.
From the razzle dazzle of the city that never sleeps and the sun kissed beaches of Florida to the heaving beaches of Miami and the lights of Las Vegas, the United States is a country with something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a villa in Florida or an apartment in New York, there is a great range of property in the United States for foreigners to buy.
The United States offer a transaction system that is clearly defined and transparent, by global standards but it is still a lengthy and complicated process with many pitfalls, which can cost foreign buyers thousands of dollars and many headaches, if not handled correctly. Every purchase includes mounds of paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles. One missing piece of paper can delay a purchase for days or weeks. Miss a deadline and a deal can collapse. But almost every requirement is designed to protect both the buyer and seller, eliminating many of the dangers found in property deals in other parts of the world.
The Completed Homes Collection showcases a range of homes across the UK that are ready to move into.