Searches reached an all time high in January 2010 and much of that momentum has been maintained into February. While the data shows that the number of searches dipped by 25% on a monthly basis, with much of the fall attributable to the fact that January was exceptionally strong and February is a short month, the overall trend is still one of growth in interest.
In some instances, however, the impending Budget and General Election may be focusing the minds of prospective international homebuyers on the financial impact of second home ownership, separating the serious buyers from those with a more casual interest.
The Budget and Election is likely to have financial implications for potential buyers, explaining an element of consumer caution. Top-earners are set to pay the new 50% rate of income tax and higher National Insurance contributions, while some analysts are predicting hikes in Capital Gains Tax.
Conversely, as financial issues are brought to the fore, it is the serious potential buyers that remain. Those currently searching for international property will have undoubtedly already considered the financial outlook and so are more likely to convert their interest into a property purchase.
Ann Wright, International Development Manager of Primelocation International, comments:
“The market for international property has recovered dramatically over the past six months. After such a steep rise in searches, a certain level of consolidation is to be expected, especially as January was so strong and February is a short month.
“Financial concerns, combined with a relatively weak pound that makes foreign home purchases more expensive, are leading some potential buyers to hold back in the short-term. However, those that are actively pursuing an interest in the current market are likely to be serious about a purchase and I am expecting a higher proportion of searches to translate into sales over the next couple of months.”
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