Britain's 5 million expats seek warmer climes – and cheaper housing

13 December 2006
Over 5.5 million Britons now live overseas and 200,000 moved abroad last year, new research from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows.

The stereotypical expat location, Spain, is patronised by 760,000 Brits, while 1.3 million dodge the language barrier by moving to Australia.

The report finds a remarkable one in ten Britons now lives abroad.

Many expats interviewed cited professional or educational opportunities as the top incentive to make the move, while a quarter fled in search of a more attractive climate and lifestyle.

But it is likely that prohibitive house prices are a significant factor – particularly among first-time buyers and young people, according to a separate study released this week by MRI Overseas Property.

Almost one-third of first-time buyers are now looking to buy overseas, MRI found – and the proportion rises to 71 per cent among 18 to 29 year olds.

The IPPR predicts a further one million Britons will leave the country over the next five years – and yesterday's housing market predictions from Rics, which estimate a seven per cent rate of growth for 2007, are unlikely to keep them here.

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