Welcome again to our Top Ten Best Places to Buy Abroad annual index. Each year we analyse searches for properties across aplaceinthesun.com to see which countries British buyers are most interested in when it comes to buying a holiday home or making a permanent move, and how much they are looking to spend. The trend over the past couple of years is for buyers to spend more and more – but how has the cost-of-living crisis begun to impact this trend?
Top 10 places to buy a home abroad in 2023
Solid at the top for every year since our records began, Spain is again numero uno. Property searches could not quite meet the pent-up demand of 2021 levels – they were 20 per cent down on that year – but the average spend is back down to roughly where it was in 2020: £159,395. But we have to note that your most favoured locations are almost a mirror image of the previous 12 months: Torrevieja, Villamartin, Estepona, Ciudad Quesada and Marbella.
Just like the recent FIFA World Cup, France takes second spot. It wasn’t exactly a penalty situation – total French searches are a quarter of that of Spain, but they’ve fallen slightly less in the past year – by 18 per cent on 2022’s figure. Unusually though the amount buyers spend in France is virtually the same as it is in Spain: £158,249, down from £181,888 – we are all keeping a lid on the budget, it seems. But we do have an exciting new top location – Nice – followed by some familiar towns: Sauzé-Vaussais in Deux-Sevres a solid second (again), then Brit-favourite Eymet, Villefagnan in the Charente and Limoux (home of some fine sparkling wine in the Languedoc).
Portugal continues on its strong run, with enquiries only down 2 per cent on the previous year, and the average spend actually increasing – at £342,276 from £339,639 in 12 months.
But just like Spain, the top Portuguese locations are completely predictable with the Algarvian perennials of Lagos, Praia da Luz, Cabanas de Tavira and Luz, but with one exception - Castelo Branco is plumb in the centre of Portugal. The fact you can get a lovely house there for way under that average property search value is a key reason why.
Well the Sunshine State blasts up our rankings from number seven in 2022’s index to its highest position for a few years. America is back.
The pent-up demand from Covid flight restrictions was delayed but now we are looking to spend even more there – a plus-sized £371,949, up from £321,823. An interesting trend here – whilst searches are up 51 per cent on the year before, enquiries are down by a similar proportion, so the interest is there but it’s not following through just yet. In the hiatus the favourite central Floridian locations remain familiar: Kissimmee, Davenport, Winter Garden, Orlando and Clermont.
Down just one spot from last year, Cyprus returns to its more predictable mid-table home, but that said, it is the only top five country to show an increase in enquiries on the previous year – albeit a modest 3 per cent. Buyers’ budgets have also dipped a little – down from £221,429 from £204,733. Your favourite Cypriot locations are Chloraka, Coral Bay, Sea Caves, Drosia (Lanarca) and Droushia (Paphos).
Like its Eastern Med neighbour above, Greece has been pushed down one spot by Florida but remains a much-loved destination. Interest is down a whisker of 5 per cent from 2022’s index but this is balanced against the fact we are looking to spend a little more than we did: £241,914 compared to £223,710. The opportunities of the largest island of Crete continue to draw the majority of home hunters: four of the five constant favourites are Agios Nikolaos, Elounda (northeast), Apokoronas and Kokkino Horio (northwest) with the island of Zante (again) the Greek outlier.
Hot on the heels of Greece is Italy, and it shows the biggest yearly increase in enquiries of the whole index – a big fat +8 per cent. We are looking to spend £178,372, down from last year’s £207,051, but that money still goes a long way in many regions of Italy. This includes the most favoured Italian buying spots: Bagni di Lucca (affordable Tuscan location bags top spot again), Fivizzano (new northern Tuscan entry), with the usual sprinkling of southern Italy: Scalea (Calabria), Palombaro (Abruzzo) and Ostuni (Puglia).
Have we had enough of Turkey? Seems not, a much-loved tradition hovering around the eighth spot. But we are indulging a little more this year: around £163,575 is quite a jump up from the previous average of £124,068. In many parts of Turkey this will buy you a villa, and that is especially true of the coveted locations of Altinkum, Mahmutlar, Ovacik, Kargicak and Çalis. If you haven’t heard of Avsallar before, nor had we, but it’s in Alanya.
Familiar territory at the foot of our index with the highly affordable Bulgaria still a nose ahead of the rather less affordable Malta. The average search is for £46,065, only a few pounds down on last year’s £46,626. We might as well cut and paste the identical top five locations from last year too: Sveti Vlas, Veliko Tarnovo, Dryanovo and Elena but no, we have a new one: Pavlikeni - albeit a part of Veliko Tarnovo province.
- Read our Top 10 Places to Buy Abroad Index 2020
- Take a look at our Top 10 Places to Buy Abroad Index 2021
- Read our Top 10 Places to Buy Abroad 2022
Malta is some way behind Bulgaria and needs to watch its back for this year’s biggest improvers: Fiji, Tanzania, Brazil, Honduras and Switzerland (could we come up with a more eclectic bunch?). Even in affluent little Malta, we are looking to spend less now: £289,530 down from £319,579. The trio of new hot spots reflect a shift from the pricy towns of the north coast: Xemxija, Tal-Ibrag and Manikata.