Living abroad doesn’t always have to be a permanent move, with many would-be expats choosing to split their time between home and a more exotic seasonal pad. But while many people opt to have a summer home overseas, there is just as much demand for a winter getaway, one that isn’t as cold and miserable as the UK once the clocks have gone back. Although some will opt for ski lodges and winter chalets, seeking out snow and a less drizzly climate, the winter months could be the perfect time to spend time somewhere hotter without having to worry about the school holidays and tourist season. So while your friends are huddled around the fireplace, why not find yourself a holiday home where you could be lounging on the beach instead?
With that in mind, here are four of our suggestions for second home destinations for those of you desperate to escape the UK during the (sometimes) dismal winter months.
Starting off relatively close to home, the Mediterranean has been a popular sunshine retreat for a long time and for good reason. The days are longer and sunnier than in the UK throughout the course of the year, so you’re still likely to have much better weather at only a fraction of the distance from home as other major sunspots. That being said, it should be cautioned that if Malta appeals it could pay to set up a second home in the region sooner rather than later, as the process of Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with the EU could complicate the matter of buying a second home there in the not-too-distant future.
If you don’t mind risking the prospect of extra paperwork appearing further down the road, the island nation of Malta is a particularly strong choice for winter sunshine. A member of the Commonwealth, Malta speaks English as its second official language and as such has rather less of a language barrier than other Mediterranean hotspots like Spain and Italy. With warm blue seas and sandy beaches, the island also boasts the highest level of sunshine hours in Europe, clocking in at roughly 3,000 per year.
Although the recent decline in the Pound means your budget may not stretch quite so far here, for some the extra price can be worth the additional convenience, and you’re unlikely to be short on takers if you want to rent out your property during the summer months.
Sometimes a little overshadowed by its northern neighbour, Mexico has a vibrant and fascinating cultural history. Not only does the country have an array of ancient temples and sites to visit, but also plenty of sunny coastline and potential surf. It’s also a great stepping off point if you do want to visit the US occasionally without the hassle of long-haul flights. Even so, as English isn’t the primary language of the country it would be well worth your while to brush up on your Spanish if you decide to go house-hunting there.
In recent months the Mexican Peso has plunged against many of its currency rivals, having been the second-worst performing currency of 2016, which could potentially make for a bargain priced second home in Mexico. A weak currency now could result in a solid profit further down the line, assuming you ever choose to sell up, of course. This can make Mexico a more attractive proposition than its near neighbour, especially if you’re looking for somewhere a little more off the beaten track. It also means that the cost of living is relatively low, letting any budget stretch that little bit further.
A little less glitzy than its near neighbour, Oman might not be the first location that crosses your mind when you think of wintering abroad. But it could be a good choice nonetheless, particularly at it’s almost certainly cheaper to buy a second home here than in the United Arab Emirates. As you might expect, the country is classed as having one of the hottest climates in the world, with winter temperatures ranging between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius. The winter months can see a modest amount of rainfall, helping to keep the heat from edging into humid and oppressive territory, and the country boasts a greater variety of landscape than you might initially envisage.
As with anywhere in the Middle East, there are different religious and social protocols to be aware of, with laws and customs having the potential to catch the unwary visitor or house-hunter out. However, with Oman’s relatively high expat population – as much of a quarter of the total population are expatriates – the locals are tolerant and open-minded towards those respectful of their culture. So long as you’re prepared to meet in the middle, and live in harmony with Oman’s predominant Muslim culture, it can be a truly rewarding experience to spend time here.
While the UK is trapped in the cold grip of winter the southern hemisphere is experiencing its summer months, making it the perfect bolthole and giving you the chance to have two summers. Australia is usually at its hottest from December to February, which makes for a very distinct change from the freezing winds and heavy downpours of home, and it has a number of other benefits on top of its balmy weather. Not least the fact that its close history with the UK means that the degree of cultural shock should be a lot more limited than it would be in other sunshine locations, even if the abundant similarities might ultimately make the differences that bit more jarring.
As the Australian housing market is relatively hot at the moment – in fact considered by many to be one of the hottest in the world – it might be a little harder to find a bargain here, although cities such as Perth and Darwin are still less expensive than Sydney or Melbourne. If you’re willing to look a little off the beaten path and have patience you could find yourself a good deal, which could pay off well if you rent it out during the antipodean winter.
All in all there are plenty of options for where to find yourself some winter sun, be it in the northern or southern hemisphere. As with any move abroad it’s always a good idea to have a look around before you commit to any location, there’s a place to suit any budget or lifestyle and you might find that your ultimate destination surprises you.
In order to maximise your buying potential in the volatile currency market of 2017 be sure to talk over your transfer options with a specialist account manager and keep up to date with the latest developments in the exchange rate.
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