18 May 2024
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Thinking of working from overseas or buying in Italy or London, well, read this!

Peter Switzer
19 December 2023

After three weeks overseas doing business for our magazine titles Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire, spending most of our time in London with a stopover in Singapore (where we stayed in that legendary hotel Raffles, in the John Wayne room, no less), like many travellers we pondered if we could again live and work from abroad.
Today CNBC looked at a number of key considerations for anyone thinking about debunking to the UK, Italy, Spain or even to a Scandinavian hideaway, to buy a getaway property or to be a digital nomad.
Here are some of the interesting take outs from their team’s research on where to buy:
1. To buy a property, the three best countries are France, Italy and Spain, as these “European countries are politically stable, with good governance and easy access to mortgages, as well as attractive towns, countryside and coastline.”
2. Provence in France, Tuscany in Italy and Spain’s capital city Madrid are popular places to invest.
3. France is also encouraging people to buy new build second homes in the country via an incentive that reimburses the standard tax rate (known as TVA) of 20%, if they make the property available for rent for around 14 weeks a year.
4. Puglia in Italy is becoming popular, where a four-bedroom, two-bathroom rural Puglian home with a pool is listed by Nest Seekers for about $497,000.
5. The capital city Madrid, which has been “under-the-radar” for overseas buyers, is becoming popular because it’s a “value play” versus London or Paris, Everett-Allen, partner at real estate firm Knight Frank said.
On working from overseas as a so-called digital nomad, The Digital Nomad Visa Index ranked the countries based on the following factors:
i. Active visa availability.
ii. Internet speed.
iii. Taxation policies and tax-free length.
iv. Income requirement for visa applications.
v. Cost of living in euros.
vi. Global Health Score (GHS).
vii. Tourism popularity.
Portugal has long been the best place for digital nomads but CNBC says government changes have made it less attractive, for example: “Portugal has already announced several policy changes coming in 2024 that can be viewed as unfriendly to digital nomads, including an end to its non-habitual resident regime, which allowed a tax reduction for 10 years to new residents regardless of nationality.”
Spain is now number one. “As of 2023, Spain’s remote work visa allows people to live in the country for up to a year, as long as they have an income of at least double Spain’s minimum wage, more than €2,600, or $2,750, a month,” CNBC reports.
Here are the top 10 countries for digital nomads in 2024
1. Spain
2. Argentina
3. Romania
4. UAE
5. Croatia
6. Portugal
7. Uruguay
8. Malta
9. Norway
10. Andorra
(Check out the story at https://www.cnbc.com/2023/12/16/best-countries-for-digital-nomads-visaguideworld-study.html)

Finally, what if you want to buy in the UK? Well, the experts say the time is right, though renting is very expensive and getting more so. You can thank interest rates at a 15-year high for that. However, it does create a buying opportunity. And as economists think the next move in rates is down, there probably is a one-year window before rates fall enough to get locals keen to hunt for and buy a property.
That said, like here in Australia, the fall in prices hasn’t been great. “Prices have fallen modestly by less than 5% with house prices still £40,000 higher than before the pandemic started in early 2020,” Richard Donnell from property website Zoopla told CNBC. “The average sale agreed is at £18,000 less than the asking price, the highest discount for over 5 years. This means it’s a good time to get into the market to negotiate harder on price, with 40% more homes for sale than a year ago.”
The outlook for rents isn’t great for overseas interlopers, with a 5% rise expected in 2024. But some smarties rent their own home here in Australia for the time they plan to be away in say London, and that can make the escape to live abroad more affordable. The age of Airbnb and Stayz has given those who want to live overseas options.

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© 2006-2021 Switzer. All Rights Reserved. Australian Financial Services Licence Number 286531. 
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