A home from home: working from abroad

Has lockdown made you consider working from abroad?

The number of Britons seeking property abroad has surged since the coronavirus outbreak, with a record number of Brits searching for overseas homes according to the property portal Rightmove. Rightmove said demand for overseas property ‘rocketed’ this summer when lockdown 1 restrictions were eased, with users of Rightmove Overseas increasing by 41% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. Perhaps it was all the free time that was suddenly available, or maybe people used the lockdown to reassess their lives, but the property buying site reports that it has never before seen the volume of interest in buying overseas properties from people in the UK.

Jo Leverett, head of international sales at Cluttons has seen a particular increase in buyers who are looking to work from abroad as well as just use the purchase for holidays. She comments: “Lockdown has proved to many people that modern technology means they can work from anywhere. Furthermore, the travel restrictions have meant that having an overseas property of your own gives you more flexibility for overseas travel. People can see that a second home abroad could be used for more than just a holiday.”

According to Rightmove, the most sought-after location has, not surprisingly, been Spain. Then France, Portugal, Italy and Greece completed the top five. France is seeing an increasing interest as the pandemic goes on from buyers who want to be able to drive to their holiday home rather than rely on flights right now. Echoing what we are seeing in the UK with people looking for more outside space, houses or apartments with gardens and access to countryside, beaches or the mountains are driving demand.

Buyers who had planned to retire abroad in the future are now considering bringing the purchase forward with more flexible working conditions potentially allowing them to use the home for longer periods during the year.

Some buyers are not just looking for holiday homes, many are looking to relocate full time, driving demand for properties in European cities, especially those that have recently invested in infrastructure such as coworking offices and international schools like Lisbon, Malaga and Malta. Frederico Mendoca, head of the Cluttons Lisbon office comments: “Over the past few years Lisbon has seen an increasing demand from investors all over the world looking for a European base to live and work from. Its favourable climate, fantastic beaches, variety of housing stock, investment in infrastructure, new international schools and tax advantages have all helped fuel this interest.”

If you are planning to work abroad it is important to check the tax implications and local laws, we would always recommend speaking with your tax adviser and lawyer. Also bear in mind some employers will have their own restrictions.