Sun, sand and affordable housing: Why many people are choosing to retire in France and Spain


Current real estate markets and housing prices are a major factor in the decision process.


By SWLondoner staff

According to a recent article in the Metro, the top two countries for Britons to retire in are Spain and France. Of course, the weather, proximity and lifestyle are all huge attractions. But it’s the current real estate markets and housing prices that are a determining factor in the decision process.

Currently, housing prices in the UK are high. The country is in the grips of a housing crisis where there simply aren’t enough homes. As a result, the cost of houses rise and it’s the rental market that seems to be taking the brunt of the problem. Leasing in the capital is nearly unaffordable with many people having to spend well over half of their salary on rent and bills. Finding affordable flats to rent in London is all about who you know and you really need to find a well-connected real estate agent who can find the hidden gems that London has to offer.

This is why people look for real estate internationally to retire in. People work their whole lives to be able to afford their own home and retire in comfort. But, if this is not a realistic option in London, many people prefer to move offshore where they can afford a better quality of life.

However, the same as in London, prime property in the prime location in Spain and France is rarely reduced to a bargain price because, despite their economic troubles, market demand for the best properties is constant.

But, if you understand the current market and have a global property agency like Hamptons International to help you, you can find fantastic, affordable properties in these top retirement destinations.


Property prices in France are expected to drop a further one to five per cent in value this year, according to the Telegraph. Although, rebound gains in the country’s major cities, namely Paris, are anticipated to see a three to eight per cent rise in house prices.

This makes it a great time to buy in France, outside of the main tourist havens. For retirees in particular, the double-taxation agreement between France and Britain is a huge benefit if you’re looking to move across the water.

“France gives a credit for UK tax paid on some forms of income, such as dividends, where these are taxable in both countries,” Bill Blevins from the management consultancy firm, Blevins Franks, told the Telegraph.

When deciding on the ideal location, consider the regions of Brittany, Gironde and the Midi-Pyrenees. These areas are popular among Brits, thanks to their beautiful surroundings, relaxing lifestyles and affordable property prices. In Brittany, for example, over 70% of the international market is from Britain. This is likely due to the fact that even though the region’s property prices have doubled over the last eight years, you can still find budget-friendly and beautiful homes.


Spain is one of the most popular European holiday destinations for Britons. But, more and more people are choosing to stay permanently due to the dramatic drop in property prices. Malaga and its surrounding regions, like Costa De La Luz, remain one of the country’s most popular locations for foreigners to buy into. This is largely due to its beach-side, sun-drenched setting. For those with a larger budget, the Algarve is for many, a retiree’s dream. This magnificent, tourist-haven in the southernmost area of Portugal on the border of Spain is full of luxury apartments and villas and is a year-round favourite with holiday-makers. 

The easy commute from London is also a huge incentive with budget airlines flying frequently and cheaply to various Spanish airports. 

Photo courtesy of  ♫axime, with thanks. 

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