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Record number of Brit's to retire abroad

4th November 2006

A record 1 million Britons retired abroad over the last decade, official figures have revealed.

And it's estimated that currently one in three is planning to have a place in the sun. They settle abroad for better weather, a better lifestyle and less crime and they save travel costs by using low-cost flights.

The most popular European retirement destination was Spain, with 74,433 pensioners moving there since 1996. This compares with just 26,700, a decade ago, show the latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions. Among popular areas are Calahonda, on the Costa del Sol, which is around 85% British.

Over the last 10 years, France attracted 34,051 pensioners from Britain; Italy 32,795 and Portugal 6,165. Other EU states accounted for 176,033 and a massive 703,900 retired elsewhere in the world.

Overall, there has been a 50% rise in 'overseas OAPs.'

A survey from friendly society, engage Mutual Assurance, revealed that one third of those approaching retirement hoped to buy property abroad and one in 10 wanted to spend time on the slopes skiing and snow boarding.

Jon Burridge, of Quantum Mortgages, who can offer Club members special deals on UK-based mortgages, said: "Such life changing moves should be well planned and it is never too early to start the preparation.

"In many instances, we find clients buy an investment/holiday home so that they can dip their toe into the Med without having to let go of our shores. Certainly, in Spain for example, those early investors have seen great returns by way of rental income and capital growth and this has given them a firm footing when they make the final jump to an ex-pat lifestyle."

As more countries enter the EU and low cost airlines expand their destinations, the regions available for investment or retirement are growing at rate where there is the very real possibility of achieving the global village once often talked about.

Anyone considering buying property abroad, especially those retiring, should always consider the legal costs and taxation aspects in advance, says Ian Le Breton, of specialists Sovereign, who offer New Skys Property Club members a 10% discount on their services.

"Many people don't realise that costs and local tax systems vary widely - even within different member states of the European Union. Professional advice should be sought at the outset so that legal costs (including stamp duties), capital gains and inheritance taxes etc. can be understood."

Often, it makes sense to purchase property using a simple company structure. Sovereign can help, using specialists who are located in their worldwide office network.

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