Friday, 9 July 2010

A walk in the park: The return of the expat

It seems that as uncertainty on the continent continues, the UK property market is seeing an interesting trend as returning expats look to get back on the ladder. As Andrew Tucker, general manager of Parkland Homes explains, many expats are opting to set up home in residential park homes; “We are seeing expats heading from Spain in particular, but also from Greece and Cyprus. Those buyers moving back from overseas have suffered economic difficulties, with fluctuations in the exchange rage and have realised the benefits of aspects of the UK such as the NHS.”

According to Jon Boston, of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, this pattern has been fairly common across the 800 sites with which he deals and looks set to continue. One of the main attractions of purchasing a residential park home is that fact that it provides expats with a “soft landing” in being much cheaper than bricks and mortar allowing consumers to get back on the property ladder fairly quickly.

Crucially, according to Mercel Van Peteghem of Anglo-French Law, a firm specialising in helping people move back to the UK from France, buying a park home can actually help expats hang onto a bigger chunk of their capital to help cushion their retirement more effectively. As Van Peteghem explains “Not all the people quitting their Dordogne homes are doing so for negative reasons. Some are making the most of the profit they can realise by selling up and coming back to the UK.”

So how is this trend reflected in other countries? Are more expats than ever before returning to their country of birth as a result of the global economic conditions and more importantly are they downsizing to improve their financial security? One of the main drivers behind the expat lifestyle has been the fact that it often offers a better relative standard of living so how are expats reacting to the fact that these benefits are being reduced due to economic uncertainty? Perhaps in times of uncertainty, the support offered by a network of friends and family becomes even more crucial.

As always we love to hear you thoughts so please do share your expat stories with us.

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