Posted: Feb 6, 2017
Close your eyes and imagine the world’s best places to live. Where would you picture yourself? On the coast, in the country or the city? We are all drawn to our favourite places to live or to visit each year on holiday. But how about trying somewhere new in 2017?
In our regular monthly round-up, property professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, industry insights and top tips. Here estate agents and developers suggest 10 places to live: five places overseas and five in the UK. You will find everywhere from Koh Samui to Sydney and St Neots to Suffolk. Many of these places may inspire you to start a new life in the year ahead.
1. Ibiza, Spain
“Ibiza is an island with a north / south divide. Party revellers will head straight to the clubs and nightlife on the south side. The north of Ibiza is typically much more bohemian, quieter, more relaxed and attracts more sophisticated, creative types. The atmosphere is more chilled, partly because you will not find any clubs here. This obviously plays into the hands of buyers who are looking for a slower and more relaxed pace with wonderful sea views on the coast and a rural landscape further inland.
“We are starting to see wealthy buyers specifically stating a preference for the north, in the knowledge that they will always have the option of making the 30 minute journey to the south should they feel like sampling the clubs and party scene. Yet they still have the option of retreating into the hills for some peace and quiet.
“There are some superb properties to be found in the northern hills, from traditional finca style farmhouses to stylish contemporary villas in elevated positions enjoying far reaching sea views.”
Numa Heathcote, Negotiator at Aylesford International (www.aylesford.com)
2. Austrian Alps, Austria
“The Austrian Alps are one of the best place to live in 2017. Not only because Austria offers some of the most beautiful scenery, freshest air and cleanest lakes in its mountainous regions, but it has fabulous investment opportunities as prices have continually risen year-on-year by approximately 4%.
“The scenery is some of the best in the world and the Austrian Alps are full of sporting activities all year round. The best thing about the Austrian Alps is that you get two completely different holidays depending on what time of year you visit. You get snow covered mountains and skiing in the wintertime, and in the summertime, there are breath-taking green pastures, cows with bells on and numerous hiking opportunities.”
Jessica Delaney of Alpine Marketing (www.alpinemarketing.com)
3. Sydney, Australia
“Balmoral Beach is Sydney’s only harbour beach, with an abundance of cafes and two fine dining restaurants on the beach overlooking Sydney Harbour. Mosman's local shops include designers such as Jo Malone, Lulu Lemon along with local pubs, restaurants and a shopping district.
“This is an exclusive enclave of Sydney where the buyer profile is based both within Australia and abroad, along with ex-pats relocating to Australia from London, New York and Hong Kong. Balmoral is the first "Turn Key" residence to be brought to the market in Australia, on at $23m.”
Joshua Buckley of H Barnes & Co. (www.cameronmacdonald.com; www.hbarnes.london )
4. Koh Samui, Thailand
“Koh Samui is an island made up of beautiful vantage points looking out across the ocean, lush tropical vegetation and a relaxed welcoming atmosphere. The island lends itself to sailing and is magical when cruising round at sunset. Secret coves offer the perfect beach picnic and the chance to sail to Ang Thong Marine Park for a day of snorkelling and exploring, Koh Phangan for lunch on the beach or around Samui to find secret coves and hidden beaches, with excellent snorkelling at Koh Tao.
“The island has waterfalls, temples, markets, mummified monks and the rum distillery. The ‘Walking Street’ at Fisherman’s Village complete with food stalls, live music, shopping and fireworks offers plenty to do in the evening. For sporting activity the island offers golf at Santiburi Samui Country Club (18 holes PGA course) and active adventures include water-skiing, go-karts, ATVs, zip lining, and kite surfing.”
Kurt Berman, General Manager of Samujana (www.samujana.com)
5. Lombardy, Italy
“Experience the best quality of life in Lombardy. You can enjoy the endless charm of Mantua, which was picked as the Italian Capital of Culture in 2016. The area has many medieval villages dotted across the region. Many of them are particularly picturesque, especially those overlooking the lakes.
“Visitors or those who live in the area can take wonderful walks along the banks of Lake Como with its spectacular villas. And although, it is an exclusive location, there are affordable housing prices here, too.
“In addition to Lake Como, there are three more lakes: Garda, Maggiore and Iseo. The only flaw is that Lombardy doesn't have the sea, but you can easily reach the nearby regions of Liguria on the Tyrrhenian Sea and Emilia Romagna or Veneto on the Adriatic Sea, with its beautiful coastline.”
Simone Rossi, Managing Director at Gate-away.com (www.gate-away.com)
6. The Gower Peninsula, South Wales
“You only need to be on The Gower for a few hours to understand why it was the UK’s first ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956 and why travel writers, celebrities, visitors and residents, cannot praise it highly enough. Gower is probably most famous for its outstanding bays, beaches and coastline – and they certainly get their spotlight in the media with ‘Three Cliffs and Rhossili Bay’ being one of the most photographed views in Europe.
“There are more than 50 named beaches, bays and coves and they are as naturally beautiful as they are varied. Gower is not however just about beaches: the varied landscape is key to Gower’s universal appeal. Grassy sand dunes and dramatic cliff top paths border much of the coastline, along with woodlands – it’s a walkers’ paradise with nearly 400 miles’ worth of rights of way.
“On a more entertaining note, there is an abundance of eateries, bars, shops, cinemas, and gyms across The Gower, Mumbles area, Swansea marina and Swansea city centre.
“Whether you want to take in the outstanding natural beauty, get active or enjoy the cosmopolitan entertainment aspect of the area. Gower really is the place where you can have it all.”
Chris Hope, Director at Fine & Country Swansea (www.fineandcountry.com/uk/swansea)
7. Weybridge, Surrey, the UK
“Living in Weybridge you can enjoy the best of two distinctly different worlds. You have easy access to the beautiful Surrey countryside, including Painshill Park, Surrey Hills, Bushy Park, Virginia Water Lake and Oxshott Heath. This peaceful theme continues through nearby Wisley Royal Horticultural Society Gardens, Claremont Landscape Garden and Hampton Court Palace.
“There is an abundance of good schools as well as a vibrant town centre, wide selection of leisure activities and good transport connections. This makes Weybridge an ideal location for modern family living. London Waterloo and all the attractions of one of the world's great capital cities are just 30 minutes from Weybridge train station.
“If you prefer the bright lights and shopping or entertainment facilities on a grander scale, there are local towns such as Walton-on-Thames and Kingston upon Thames.”
Denise Stewart, Sales and Marketing Director of Antler Homes (www.antlerhomes.co.uk)
8. Bermondsey, London, the UK
“Bermondsey is not only one of London’s most exciting areas for food, dining and boutique shops, it offers a whole host of arts, entertainment and top destinations with affordable property prices.
“Borough Market has some of the freshest and finest ingredients from around the world for residents to enjoy. While the art-house Shortwave Cinema, the Tate Modern, the O2 and Westfield Shopping Centre, are all within easy reach.”
Claire Gibbins, Sales and Marketing Director of Linden Homes South East (www.lindenhomes.co.uk)
9. Ely, Cambridgeshire, the UK
“Cambridge is our London in this area. It gives us our own micro-economy, with buyers getting pushed out of Cambridge and turning to Ely as an alternative. The beauty of Ely is that it is still a traditional, country market town. We have an excellent market, selling everything from continental food to bric-a-brac and dinosaur fossils found in the Fens. The restaurants and bars are improving and the new leisure complex should be a great help to Ely.
“Despite the amount of development in the area, Ely has managed to retain its rural charm and is a really relaxed, place to live. Affordable prices are mainly what drives our market and we see local downsizers cashing in on more expensive properties in Cambridge to purchase pretty period houses on the waterfront in Ely, or first time buyers who look to make the most of the affordable new developments being built around the town.”
Mark Peck, Director of Cheffins Estate Agents (www.cheffins.co.uk)
10. Birmingham, West Midlands, the UK
“Demand for city centre living in Birmingham has never been higher and it’s more than just jobs attracting people to the city. Birmingham is ranked in the top three places in the UK for shopping, has 20 leading universities within a one hour drive of the city centre and has numerous regeneration projects underway that will bring new offices, leisure space and high quality homes to the city.
“It’s also home to the busiest and most popular theatre in the country, as well as the world-famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Library of Birmingham; the largest cultural public space in Europe.
“Additionally, residents can enjoy the thriving restaurant and bar scene, with new venues opening up every month, regular street food events – such as the award-winning Digbeth Dining Club – and more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other UK city outside London. There are more than 8,000 acres of parks and open space and more canals than Venice, too. With so much going on, now is a great time to be living – and investing in property – in Birmingham.”
Ben Evans, Managing Director of FleetMilne Property (www.fleetmilne.co.uk)
And one for luck
11. St Neots, Cambridgeshire, the UK
“St. Neots really does have everything that discerning buyers could possibly need or want. In terms of housing supply – there are character properties dating back many hundreds of years, cleverly mixed with modern and even brand new homes. The central market square is delight.
“The area is constantly improving, with a recently opened multi-screen cinema, swimming pool, numerous gyms and a wide variety of restaurants and shops.
“There is great access to Cambridge, only 18 miles away, and London Kings Cross is accessible via the train station in under an hour. The beautiful villages such as Great Gransden, Eltisley and Abbotsley are just a few minutes away, too.”
Simon Bradbury, Fine & Country St Neots (www.fineandcountry.com/uk/st-neots)