Iberian countries top list of favourite retirement destinations for UK-based sun seekers

Iberian countries top list of favourite retirement destinations for UK-based sun seekers

  • 26% of Brits plan to retire to Spain (MGM Advantage)
  • Las Palmas, Mallorca, is cheapest Spanish city for cost of living (Numbeo)
  • Portugal’s Algarve is best destination to retire to (Retire Overseas Index)

The world is a vast and exciting place. From the mysteries of the Far East to the natural beauty of New Zealand and the endless variety of India, it is a planet that is ripe for exploration. But when it comes to retirement, it is those destinations much closer to home that regularly top Brits’ list of desirable locations, with Iberian countries proving the most attractive.

According to Silver Travel Advisor, 80% of the UK’s wealth is held by the over 50s. They are wealthier than ever before and expect to live longer: the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs puts life expectancy for UK residents at 80.45 years. That’s plenty of time to soak up the sun after cashing that final pay cheque!

Retiring to Spain

A poll by MGM Advantage found that 26% of Brits planned to retire to Spain. While it seems unlikely that a full quarter of those in their golden years will decamp to the Costas (figures from Brits Abroad show that it is closer to one in ten Brits who lives overseas), Spain is certainly a hugely popular destination with British retirees. Some 761,000 UK British citizens live in Spain, according to Brits Abroad, accounting for 13.8% of the total number of Brits residing overseas.

Martin Dell, Director of leading Spanish property portal Kyero.com, explains the country’s continuing attraction in the eyes of British retirees,

“Retirees these days have more funds behind them to explore the world with, but a considerable number look no further than Spain when it comes to where they want to live during their golden years. When you consider Spain’s advantages, it’s easy to see why.

“There’s the great weather, healthy cuisine, delicious wine, pristine golf courses and beautiful beaches, for a start. Spain also has a rich history, with plenty of cultural attractions and inspiring architecture for those who move there with discovery in mind. The cost of living is also a factor, as well as the cost of property. Those on a fixed income can get more for their money in Spain.”

Even Spain’s infrastructure ticks the right boxes when it comes to retiring. According to the International Living Global Retirement Index 2016, Spain was the top country in the infrastructure category thanks to its excellent internet coverage, modern roads and extensive public transportation system. The country also has a high number of doctors in proportion to its population, according to OECD Health Statistics 2015, with healthcare offered freely and universally.

New pension freedoms mean that retirees can approach their years of leisure with far more flexibility. This is having an impact on the plans of those currently looking at retiring overseas. When it comes to property, the average UK home costs £200,251 based on Nationwide’s figures. That’s roughly €255,142 – enough for a five bedroom, three bathroom villa with pool close to the beach, marina and four golf courses in the pretty Spanish town of Villamartin.

Clearly size matters when it comes to a retirement property. The UK is home to the smallest properties in Europe according to a Cambridge University study, which found that 79% of residences were either near acceptable size or below it. A five bedroom villa in Spain, with plenty of room for the family to come and enjoy holidays in, offers far more value for money that one could expect from an English property that cost the same amount.

Nor is it just mainland Spain that retirees love. Las Palmas, in Mallorca, is the cheapest Spanish city on the Numbeo Europe: Cost of Living Index 2016. Like mainland Spain, Mallorca enjoys quick and easy connections to the UK, which makes it ideal for retirees who want to live overseas but also maintain regular contact with their friends and family back home.

Mallorca is home to some stunning properties and leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España has plenty to offer on the island, from key ready apartments and townhouses at Costa Beach – Port Vell from €240,000, to spectacular seafront houses on the clifftops of Cala Magrana Mar – Porto Cristo, priced from €640,000.

Retiring to Portugal

One position after Las Palmas on the Numbeo Europe: Cost of Living Index 2016 is Braga, in Portugal, closely followed by Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto and Lisbon. Portugal is another favourite with retirees from the UK, thanks to its excellent value for money, fabulous weather, friendly people and laid back way of life.

Portugal also has a good infrastructure when it comes to healthcare, internet coverage and flight connections with the UK, all of which are influential factors when it comes to UK residents seeking out a sun-drenched retirement spot.

According to the Retire Overseas Index 2015, Portugal’s Algarve is the best place in the world to retire to. It is the second year in a row that the region has taken the top spot, with its low cost of living, affordable property cost and established expat community all highlighted as distinct draws. The Retire Overseas Index also notes that it is, surprisingly, possible to live in the Algarve and only speak English.

Portugal also made it into the top ten of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index again in 2016, thanks to its “near flawless weather, abundance of golf and water sports, and superb fresh food.”

Retirees looking for a laid back, beach-based lifestyle will feel right at home in the Algarve. For those on a budget, a simple studio apartment just a few minute walk from the marina, beach and shops in Vilamoura can be bagged for €75,000 including furniture. At the other end of the spectrum, buyers with €4.9 million to spend can pick up an impressive five bedroom villa with pool and sea views in the popular Quinta do Lago golf resort.

Chris White, a British expat who runs boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, explains the enduring appeal of the Algarve when it comes to retirement,

“The Algarve is a beautiful region that has a wealth of attractions when it comes to attracting retirees. The cost of living here is incredibly low compared to much of Europe and it’s possible to eat and drink extremely well on a limited budget. A morning coffee and pastry costs just €1.50, while a full meal with wine at lunchtime can be had for €12-15. Then of course there’s the 300 plus days of sunshine per year, the great healthcare system, world-class golf courses, countless castles to explore… the Algarve really does have everything you could wish for from an idyllic retirement destination.”

No wonder then that when it comes to retirement the lure of Iberia is too strong for many Brits to resist!

For more information please contact:

Kyero.com: www.kyero.com

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Ideal Homes: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434, www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk or www.idealhomesportugal.com