Record number of Brits leaving UK for better lives abroad

19 November 2007
The number of Britons leaving the country has hit record levels as Britain’s high living costs, slowing property market and dismal weather drives people abroad in search of better lives.

UK residents are making a mass exodus to hot countries in search of a better life, cheaper house prices and a more affordable standard of living with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain and the US taking the top spots.

According to figures released by the Office of National Statistics yesterday, 207,000 Brits left the UK last year, making it the first time the annual number of British emigrants has exceeded 200,000.

But for those who are looking for investment opportunities abroad, it is Eastern Europe that is currently attracting a British market. Currently around 800,000 Britons have second homes in the newly acceded Eurozone countries with Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia emerging as front-runners according to a recent survey commissioned by The Daily Telegraph.

"These are the locations which are seeing employment levels, incomes and productivity rise rapidly from low levels to meet the EU average," says Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank.

"It is a process that has happened every time a country has joined the EU -remember Ireland and Portugal - and it is very likely to happen again in these countries."

What’s more, Eastern European countries have seen a surge in British first time buyers who have been attracted by the promise of a quick yet lucrative investment in order to be able to afford deposits for houses back home.

With first time buyers currently looking to pay around £168,770 for a UK property, plus stamp duty costs of £1,688, it is unsurprising that the figures are turning people away. And for those looking to buy a home in the capital, these figures soar further. London’s first time buyers have to fork out an estimated £250,000 for a property and an extortionate £8000 in stamp duty fees.

Research from Foreign Currencies Direct shows that 29 per cent of first time buyers aged between 25 and 34 at least consider buying homes overseas to fund properties back in the UK as Chief Executive of Foreign Currencies Direct, Peter Ellis, explains: “By buying abroad, they save enough to get a footing back home.”

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