More Brits buying property abroad to escape credit crunch

14 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
A rising number of Brits want to escape the credit crunch are hoping to up sticks and move abroad but are being thwarted by the stagnant housing market which won't allow them to sell their current residence.

Those who have had enough of the credit crunch and the bad weather are looking to leave in search of sunnier climes, according to research from overseas property specialists HiFX, but many are having their dreams dashed when they find that they cannot shift their UK property.

This is bad enough, but what's more pressing is that the VISAs they arranged in preparation for the move abroad have a shelf life and the clock is ticking while people look for a buyer before their VISA expires.

The number of people enquiring about relocating to another country spiked by 30 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same time last year, HiFX said, but those who have successfully emigrated has risen by only 10 per cent.

The UK's largest international removal company, Anglo Pacific, has reported similar figures, with a dramatic increase in the volume of interest but making little gain on the number of people that are actually relocating.

John Payne from Anglo Pacific commented: "This is evidence that there is a real and growing desire by many to emigrate, particularly as 2007 was a record year for the number of people we relocated. However our actual bookings for removals year to date are down on last year".

"Bearing in mind that 2007 was a record year for emigration, the fact that even more people are looking to move abroad this year shows that there is now a very real desire to escape some of the problems in the UK economy." said Mark Bodega, director at HiFX.

"However the problem that many people are being confronted with is a simple one - they cannot sell their UK property and, without this equity from the sale of a house, they don't think they can fund their dream move and so are putting their move off."

For frustrated British homeowners who are finding their plans scuppered by the UK property market and unable to afford a property abroad, HiFX recommends that they consider remortgaging their home until conditions improve, rather than hanging on for a buyer.

Émigrés could release just enough cash from their home to fund the first 12 months of their life abroad, and then re-evaluate the situation in a year's time, it suggests.

"Once you have decided to move abroad is can be incredibly frustrating to find that you can't because you're struggling to sell your UK property." Mr Bodega added. "There is a lot to think about when emigrating but it may be worth deviating from your original plans and considering holding onto your UK property until the market picks up."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd