Despite the UK housing market grinding to a halt in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Britain’s interest in property and moving home is still as strong as ever.
Over the last 90 days, Google Trends data has shown a 500% increase in emigration-related searches, suggesting Brits may be looking to take the leap and move abroad.
A driving force behind the increase in searches may be the dramatic shift to working from home, as new research estimates that almost half of UK adults worked remotely during the peak of the pandemic. This shift in working behaviour has also been accompanied by new emigration incentives from nations like Barbados, who have introduced a ’12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp’ to entice Brits to head for sunnier climes.
But where in the world do British homebuyers hope to set up home? And what can they get for their money?
The mortgage experts at Bankrate analysed Google search volumes, and the average price of two bed apartments around the world to find out.
Using search volume data from keyword research tool SEMrush, Bankrate were able to determine the 20 countries that Brits are most interested in moving to.
The mortgage experts at Bankrate found Canada to be the most searched for destination amongst Brits looking to relocate. Accumulating an impressive average of almost 27,000 search queries every month, it would seem that the prospect of settling down in Canada is incredibly popular.
In fact, it appears that North America is Britain’s favourite continent when it comes to relocation searches, with the USA ranking in second place and boasting an impressive average search volume of almost 26,000 per month.
Rounding off the top three most searched for places is Australia, narrowly falling behind the USA by only 120 search queries per month. Nonetheless relocation searches for Australia boast an impressive monthly average of 25,660, making it a clear favourite amongst Brits.
Interestingly, Bankrate found that the countries placing below the top three received less than a third of the searches that Canada and the USA. Ireland, which placed fourth, only receives 8,740 search queries per month. Of the remaining top 15 most popular countries to relocate, 70% were European countries.
Bankrate also sought to find out which of the most popular countries were cheapest to buy a two-bedroom apartment - both inside and outside of a city centre.
Of the countries analysed, Bankrate discovered that the Isle of Man was the cheapest place to relocate inside a city centre - with the average price for a two bedroom apartment costing only £140,700. However, despite its title for hosting the cheapest properties, it still ranked as the least desired country of those studied. Placing 20th in popularity amongst prospective expats and receiving just 620 search queries per month.
Portugal saw a similar fate. Despite hosting the second cheapest average price for an inner-city two bedroom apartment, Bankrate’s data revealed Portugal to be the 15th most sought after place to relocate. Portugal even places below Switzerland, where you have to pay more than four times the price to live in a property of the same size.
The two most sought after countries, Canada and the USA, were among the 10 cheapest countries to purchase a home. With Bankrate’s research discovering that a two bedroom apartment in the USA would cost £211,764 - the third cheapest of the countries examined.
Renowned for its reputation as a migration hotspot for Brits, Spain ranks neatly as both the fifth cheapest and fifth most desirable place to reside, with an average property price of £234,024 within a city.
Whilst the Isle of Man offered expats the cheapest property price inside a city, moving outside of a city proved more expensive - costing prospective buyers an average of £375,228 for a two bedroom apartment. This hefty fee means it will cost Brits more than twice the price to live outside of a city centre in comparison to living inside.
Interestingly, Bankrate’s data revealed that despite an apartment outside of a city centre averaging a price of £154,812 in both Spain and Dubai, Spain is googled three times more than Dubai.
All of this leaves Switzerland, Japan and Amsterdam as the most expensive countries to emigrate to. A two bedroom apartment in Switzerland comes in at a whopping average price of £795,984 inside a city and £546,000 outside.
To take their analysis further, Bankrate decided to investigate what Brits could get for their money abroad - both inside and outside of cities.
Bankrate extracted property prices and used these to calculate the average price for a two bedroom city apartment in the UK, which totalled a sum of £362,208. This was then used as a benchmark to compare to city-based apartment prices abroad.
Fortunately for those seeking a new life abroad, the results showed that the two most sought-after locations, Canada and the USA, are less expensive than the UK for a city-based apartment.
In fact, four out of the top 5 most popular countries hosted cheaper city-based apartments than the UK, with the exception of Australia where it costs roughly £25,000 more to purchase an apartment.
Bankrate then decided to repeat their comparison with regards to apartments located outside of cities, for both the UK and the sought after countries. The cost for a two bedroom apartment outside of the city in the UK averaged as £256,704.
When comparing the price of apartments, it was found that the majority of countries, which were more expensive than the UK in a city, were also more expensive outside of a city.
However, Bankrate did find that two bedroom apartments outside of a city on the Isle of Man were significantly more expensive than those in the UK. Properties in the Isle of Man countryside are priced at roughly £100,000 more than the average price for an apartment outside of a city in the UK.
Likewise, whilst an inner-city property in New Zealand cost less than in the UK, to live outside of a city in New Zealand will cost you, on average, £10,000 more than in the UK.
Overall, Bankrate’s research has uncovered which countries are the most searched for amongst Brits looking to relocate. Also considering the average prices of properties abroad, and whether this will be more or less expensive than living in a similar property within the UK.
From the results, it appears that property prices are not the only force that might be driving Brits abroad. In fact, property prices in many of the sought after countries are higher than those in the UK - making moving abroad a costly dive for many!
If you are looking to become a property owner in the UK, take a look here and compare mortgages.
To extract the data required to determine the most sought-after and popular countries to move to among the British population, Bankrate inputted the terminology “move to” in the keyword analytics section of the online visibility and marketing tool SEMrush. This was carefully filtered to generate search volume results for each country, enabling Bankrate to reach reliable average figures on how frequently the Brits enquired about moving to these specific countries.
Upon ranking these results, Bankrate was able to discover the 20 most popular countries identified from SEMrush and inputted these countries into the Numbeo Cost of Living Tool to configure an average price (per square metre) of an apartment in each city centre. The property data extracted was live data and is therefore subject to fluctuation. The data was collated 14/07/2020. Exemplary, the price per square metre of a city-based apartment within Canada was calculated to be £3,544 GBP. Irrespective of the country, all figures were calculated in GBP. Bankrate ran an identical analysis method in order to find equivalent data for the price per square metre of an apartment outside of a city centre for the purpose of comparison. For example, the price per square metre of an apartment outside of a city in Canada is £2,447 GBP.
From this analysis, Bankrate then calculated the average price per square metre for each country by multiplying each figure by 84 on the basis that the average total square metre of a 2-bed apartment is 84 square metres. (Two bedroom apartments were chosen as the standardised property due to their concentration in city centre regions and due to their widespread suitability). By completing these calculations, Bankrate was able to compare both the cheapest and most expensive of the most popular countries to move to - in terms of both properties inside and outside of a city.