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The best buy-to-let locations across Europe

Wednesday 1st November 2017

Written by Roy Weatherby, The Overseas Investor

Given that buy-to-let investors in the UK could well be forgiven for thinking that the current government has some kind of vendetta against them, it is understandable that at least some of them will be looking at alternatives to letting property in the UK (even though the domestic buy-to-let market is very far from dead and buried). 
Brexit notwithstanding, Europe is the obvious place to look for alternatives and has some very attractive options - as well as some to avoid, for the time being at least.
Ireland has numerous obvious advantages to UK-based buy-to-let investors. It is geographically close and is the only other country in Europe where English is spoken as the first language. 
Rather like the UK, there are still large parts of Ireland, which are essentially rural, but there are also several key population centres, most obviously Dublin, but also places such as Cork and Galway, which have very vibrant housing markets driven forward by the strength of the Irish economy. 
The Irish government has long courted large companies with very favourable tax rates and even though the EU is clamping down on the scale of its generosity, the chances are that the Irish government will continue to offer as favourable treatment as it is able to do and even if the relevant tax rules were to be harmonized across the EU, Ireland still has the advantage of its English-speaking and digitally-literate workforce. 
From the perspective of buy-to-let investors, it also has very reasonable house prices (albeit influenced by the exchange rates) and the prospect of good yields.
The Netherlands, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia fill up the top of the table
All of these countries offer relatively low house prices (again influenced by exchange rates) and enough demand to promise good yields. 
The Netherlands, in particular, has the advantage of being geographically close and being known as a country where most people speak excellent English. 
All four countries have decent to strong economies. The Netherlands exports mineral fuels and agricultural produce. 
Malta is a tourism and retirement hotspot and official home to many gambling companies, who may not have many employees but will pay taxes there. 
Portugal come back from the brink of its financial crisis and has been diversifying its economy from its longstanding mainstays of agriculture and tourism and has now become one of Europe’s major tech hubs. 
Slovakia exports crude oil and natural gas and also has significant manufacturing and agriculture.
Austria, Croatia, France and Sweden are the relegation candidates
While these four countries tick the boxes in terms of demand for housing and strong economies, they are also places where house prices are relatively high, which immediately makes it more of a challenge to achieve a decent yield. 
While Sweden may have some appeal due to the fact that it is also known as a place where people generally have a good knowledge of English, this advantage has to be set against the fact that its rental market is tightly controlled and there is no sign of this changing any time soon.
For more information on overseas property investment, please contact Hopwood House.

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Editorial Contact Details - Conor Shilling
0845 672 6000
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