Holiday home hunters buy Stateside

It used to be many a retired Brit's dream to live their latter years across the Channel but as France loses its appeal, holiday home hunters are shopping for properties across the pond instead.

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Sub-prime mortgage problems in the US mean it is now possible to snap up a bargain Stateside, so it is little wonder that the ex-pat property market in France has dropped by 10 per cent in the last month.

The combination of the British housing slump and the value of the pound against the euro means British money isn't going too far in France and the country has now been overtaken by Spain as the most popular European country for ex-pats.

Property searches in the US have increased by 90 per cent over the last year, and the number of Brits looking for a Spanish retreat is up by 43 per cent.

Though the Spanish housing market has collapsed, it is widely believed that prices are unlikely to fall much further, tempting Brits to buy a bargain and wait for their investment to grow.

Ann Wright of Primelocation International, which carried out the study, told the Daily Mail: "In the past year we've seen a real change in the searches on our site, which suggests France no longer holds the appeal it once did for British people looking for a property overseas.

"There's no single explanation for this trend. It's a mixture of hard-headed commercial considerations as people see bargains in weaker housing markets like Spain and the US, as well as changes in fashion and perhaps the influence of politics too."

With a one-bedroom apartment in Orlando, Florida, offered for £15,000 and two- and even three-bed homes available for less than £30,000, it seems the temptation to take advantage of a bargain may be the most likely cause.

Have you considered cashing in on the US or Spanish property crash, or has the French lifestyle simply lost its appeal? Leave your comments below...
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