Posted: Sep 16, 2015
Target the right areas and you can find desirable homes at bargain-basement prices.
Live in a house where you have paid over the odds and the resentment will fester for years. Live in one which you have bought for a song and you will not stop smiling.
That may explain why so many people buying property overseas, are drawn to areas where house-prices are mind-bogglingly low. You want good value for money? Here is a selection of destinations, from Europe to Asia and Latin America, where you can pick up a property bargain.
Some of the lowest property prices in Latin America are to be found in Ecuador, a small country which has found its way on to more and more people’s radar. For around £30,000, you can pick up a decent one-bedroom apartment in a colonial city of charm and character, such as Cuenca. Living costs are also extremely low by European standards.
It is part of the European Union, but it doesn’t feel it when you hit the bars and restaurants – where prices are roughly half what they are in Western Europe. Property prices are also extremely competitive. You can get a one-bedroom apartment in an upmarket development in the popular ski resort of Bansko for about £50,000.
Fancy a Caribbean lifestyle at prices that feel like Clacton-on-Sea thirty years ago? Then you could well find it in the former British colony of Belize, where the expat community is growing exponentially. If you are happy to live a few miles inland, rather than on the coast, you could pick up a one-bedroom cottage for less than £50,000 – and spend the change on pina coladas.
It was Lech Walesa who put Gdansk on the map, and if people still associate the Polish port with its ship-building industry, it is also an extremely congenial place to live. There are some stunning properties in the city centre and family-friendly beaches on your doorstep. Property prices are competitive, to put it mildly – around £125,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in the city centre.
You can live very comfortably for not much more than £500 a month in the Philippines, according to one recent study – which may explain the islands’ growing popularity with expats. In some of the remoter areas, such as the island province of Palawan, you can buy two-bedroom properties near a beach, for well under £100,000.
For an island steeped in history, with a Mediterranean climate, Malta has managed to escape the soaring property prices of more fashionable destinations in the region. You can purchase two-bedroom apartments with sea views in sought-after areas such as St Paul’s Bay, for around £150,000. The island has long been a favourite with Brits, and that seems sure to continue.
Particularly favourable exchange rates in the past couple of years have seen a steady flow of Brits make a bee-line for the southern Turkish coast. They can pick-up attractive villas in reasonable locations for about £200,000, then savour the many charms of a country where the cost of living is still well under half that in Britain.
Sicily is such a big, varied island that it almost feels like a country in its own right. And, in terms of value for money, it is ideally suited to people who love Italy and all things Italian, but are daunted by property prices in the main tourist areas. Shop around in Sicily’s rugged interior and you should have no problem picking up a picturesque tumbledown farmhouse, for around £100,000.
The Auvergne, France
Some of the best-priced properties in France are to be found in the country’s mountainous interior. You won’t have sunny beaches within striking distance in the Auvergne, a picturesque region known for its extinct volcanoes. But, you will have no difficulty finding properties that seems exhilaratingly cheap by UK standards. For example, you can pick up a three-bedroom stone house near Puy-de-Dome, for around £60,000.
The further north of Lisbon you travel, the lower the property prices. By the time you get to Oporto and the Douro valley, you are laughing. It is a very different Portugal from the swish golf resorts of the Algarve, but enticing property prices – around £100,000 for large apartments in central Oporto - and the relatively low cost of living, make for an attractive package.
Costa del Sol
If it is sun you are after, and you do not mind living in a bog-standard apartment with a balcony in a cheap-and-cheerful development, then Costa del Sol is still a reasonable bet. Property prices have tumbled after years of over-supply, and that is good news for bargain-hunters. Some of the best value is to be found in smaller towns such as Calahonda and Benalmadena. You can find two-bedroom apartments within walking distance of the beach, for approximately £75,000.
Nova Scotia, Canada
The wilds of Canada may be a bit niche, but for people who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, and are looking for affordable properties in spectacular settings, Nova Scotia has a lot going for it. You can pick up family-sized homes near Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, for as little as £120,000.
One of the last European countries to thaw out after the Communist era, Albania is making up for lost time, with a burgeoning tourist industry and some interesting new developments on the coast. Now could be a good time to look for property there. You would expect to pay no more than around £50,000 for a two-bedroom apartment near the beach in the coastal resort of Vlore.
With average house prices of around £140,000, two-thirds of what they are in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia offers some of the best value in Spain, particularly if you house-hunt inland. Some of the remoter villages are in need of regeneration, so there are real bargains on offer for enterprising buyers.
Small but perfectly formed, with an envious blend of coastal and mountainous regions, Slovenia has not yet seen the hike in property prices experienced in some other parts of Eastern Europe. You can buy an architect-designed two-bedroom apartment for about £350,000 in the country’s charming little capital, Ljubljana – then be pleasantly surprised by the low cost of Slovenian café society.
Life in Malaysia is slow-paced and pretty inexpensive. You can live comfortably on around £700 a month, according to a recent survey. Property prices are competitive, too. Even in the holiday island of Penang, which is quite touristy, you can get a four-bedroom semi-detached house for under £200,000.
Your neighbours will certainly not be wearing Gucci sunglasses here. But, for property value, it takes some beating. You can still pick up picturesque wrecks in hillside towns with sea views for about £20,000 – and have the adventure of a lifetime restoring them.
The average property price in Picardy is just over £120,000, thrillingly low compared with Kent, less than a hundred miles away on the other side of the English Chanel. It is blessed with pretty scenery and friendly villages.
You don’t have to house-hunt in islands nobody has heard of to find bargains. In Corfu, many Brits’ favourite Greek island, there are semi-renovated houses in out-of-the-way villages such as Makrades and Gardalades, on the market for under £50,000.