Best Neighbourhoods For Retirees
Finally throwing off the shackles of career-building and child-rearing leaves many people feeling so footloose and fancy-free again that a change of location seems almost obligatory. After all, putting up with bleak northern winters seems foolish when there are so many nice, warm places where property is so affordable and the cost of living so low. Here are our top picks for retirees looking for a destination with just the right combination of weather, convenience and financial good sense in 2014.
Cap d’Antibes, French Riviera
You may not find a bargain second home in the French Riviera’s playground of the rich and famous but, if you’re selling up lock, stock and barrel you can enter the property market at around €1.5m. The French government recently cut capital gains taxes by 25%, giving the luxury homes market a fillip and probably ensuring that your investment would at least hold its value in the near future. Cote D'Azur Airport is just a 30 minute drive away in Nice and connects you to most European international airports as well as New York, Tel Aviv and Moscow.
One of the most overlooked of Caribbean retirement spots, the ‘Island of Spice’ has just introduced a Citizenship by Investment scheme. Like St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica before it this should see property prices rise along with an influx of wealthy buyers.
With prices for hilltop luxury villas starting at around $500,000 Grenada looks like a smart alternative to Florida’s stuttering real estate market (though with flight times of 10 hours from London that might be more applicable to wealthy US retirees than UK ones).
Marco Island, Florida
We shouldn’t be too rough on the Sunshine State: the precipitous drops in property prices seen in recent years now seem have come to an end, thanks in no small part to foreign buyers looking to snap up a bargain.
The city of Marco Island sits on the southwest coast of Florida amid white sandy beaches and country clubs. The proximity of the Everglades provides some points interest for those looking for more than just golf mornings and bridge afternoons. Prices for 3-bed condos in the area start from around $200,000.
Turkey’s credentials as a good choice for property investment have been indisputable for some time. Lying a relatively short flight away for the wealthy retirees of Europe, Russia and the Middle East, demand for property in the Aegean coast looks set to remain strong for a good few years to come.
Fethiye is a lovely little laid back town about an hour’s drive away from Dalaman Airport which offers flights to over 100 international destinations. Property prices that are around 50% cheaper than comparable places in Spain and France should give retirees in search of hot Mediterranean weather serious pause for thought.
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Another alternative to Florida for North Americans, Panama’s stable, growing economy makes it look like a fairly safe bet when it comes to property investment. A three bedroom condo in a gated community, with a pool, situated right on the 18th hole of the Glub de Golf in Coronado is currently prices at $380,000.
A tourist town which attracts thousands of visitors every year and which is heaving with restaurants, shops, banks and pharmacies, Coronado provides plenty of distractions to while away the work-free years. About an hour and a half drive from Tocument International Airport in Panama City.
A small island in the Indian Ocean, about 400 miles from Madagascar, Mauritius is still little known as a tourist destination.
Flights from Europe aren’t cheap (or short - about 12 hours from Paris) but what Mauritius lacks in convenience it makes up for with island paradise vibes, tax haven status and the fact that overseas property buyers qualify for residency. Seafront properties are available for around £750,000.
A more conventional choice perhaps, especially for UK retirees, Marbella, in the province of Málaga, sits on the Costa del Sol. Towns in this region are famous for stocking common British staples like Hovis bread and PG Tips, such are the numbers of UK expats visiting and living in the area. The economic troubles in Spain in recent years though have seen many lose considerable chunks of equity in their retirement properties. The luxury apartments and villas of Marbella have held their value better than most and can be expected to rise in price sooner when the recovery comes.
The Algarve, Portugal
As in Spain, so in Portugal, with the Eurozone crisis responsible for a prolonged spell of misery in the Portuguese property market. As with the Costa del Sol though, The Algarve’s fundamentals are strong: a large British expat community, hot weather, beautiful beaches, short, cheap flights back to the UK. Once again, if you stick to investing in property at the luxury end of the scale your risk will be minimised and you could even see a tidy return when things pick up.
A tiny island nation in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Libya, Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English; making it an ideal retirement location for British expats. This is another traditional retirement bolthole (large expat community, warm temperatures, close to major European cities) where the property market has suffered due to the financial crisis.
Cash buyers should be able to pick up a bargain in a market that is just about turning the corner. Architectural evidence of Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Napoleon and the British Empire should provide plenty of material for amateur historians.
Slightly more off the beaten track Morocco offers a much more exotic destination than Portugal or Spain while retaining the easy accessibility: flights are fairly cheap and take less than four hours from London. The major draw of Marrakesh, besides the hot climate, is that it’s dirt cheap.
Tax on income is very low and the cost of living means that pensions should stretch way further than they would at home. The only drawback is the low popularity among retirees thus far, but that looks set to be changing rapidly.