Retiring Abroad: Popular Places to Buy Property for Less

14th October 2016

Home, Money, Travel

With the average life expectancy continuing to rise, more people are choosing to move abroad to enjoy their retirement years. With, the promise of a warmer climate, a more laid-back lifestyle, and better quality of life, it’s no wonder living in a different country sounds much more appealing to many than life back in the UK.

As you’d expect though, there are many factors to consider before deciding to retire abroad, such as healthcare, pensions, day-to-day living costs, and of course, finding somewhere to live. It’s also really important to make sure that your life insurance is up to date before you move, in case anything happens whilst you’re out there.

Here at Asda Money, we’ve chosen some of the most popular locations abroad to relocate to during retirement, including where to find the best deals so that you can budget for the big move.

Algarve, Portugal

Known for its relatively low cost-of-living and relaxed lifestyle, the Algarve is home to over 100,000 expat retirees from all over the world. Located on Portugal’s southernmost coast, the Algarve benefits from having more than 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, which makes this region one of the sunniest places in Europe. Along with the abundance of Blue Flag beaches and golf courses, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular place for expats to move to when they retire.

Due to the strong expat community, English is widely spoken, which is hugely beneficial when it comes to purchasing property. Although property prices in luxury resort towns such as Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo tend to be on the expensive side, in general, prices are very reasonable in comparison to the UK.

According to Global Property Guide, the average price of housing in the Algarve is €1,287 (£1,163) per square metre. A two-bedroom apartment will generally set you back around €150,000 (£135,580), and two-bedroom detached villas start at around €400,000 (£361,500). Bear in mind that properties get more expensive the closer they are to the beach and other amenities, so you can save a lot of money if you’re happy to live in a more rural area. The eastern Algarve is peaceful and beautiful, and if you look further inland you can find houses here for as little as €50,000 (£45,146).

Portugal also offers beneficial tax regimes for those who decide to retire there. Non-habitual resident status applies to people who have not lived there for the previous five years. This means that foreign sourced pension income is exempt from tax for up to a decade. However, it’s always recommended to seek expert advice when it comes to pensions and tax.


Malta is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world. English is the first language for the majority of people who live there, and with plenty of UK shops and supermarkets to choose from, it’s an easier transition for Brits relocating during their retirement. 

As well as having great weather all year round, Malta boasts a fantastic healthcare system which was ranked fifth in the world by the World Health Organisation. This is an obvious benefit for people wishing to retire there, and is helped by the fact that it’s free to all citizens, which includes British residents, under a reciprocal agreement with the UK.

If you’re looking to buy property in Malta, this small island is often overshadowed by larger countries such as Spain and France, meaning prices are usually cheaper than other prime European locations. The Maltese capital Valletta and the town of Sliema are both popular with expats, being in the heart of the action, due to this, they tend to be slightly more expensive to purchase property in, with two-bedroom properties generally starting at around €280,000 (£252,800).

An alternative to Malta is the smaller and more rural island of Gozo, which is part of the Maltese archipelago and offers a slower pace of life. A popular choice amongst retirees, property here tends to be cheaper in comparison to Malta, and there’s still a wide range available, from modern apartments to older houses. Two-bedroom properties in Gozo generally start at about €150,000 (£135,350), and if you’re happy to do some renovations you can get a great deal at a much cheaper price.

Ecuador, South America

The South American country of Ecuador is renowned for being a great place for people to move to, due to its great weather, generous retirement benefits, and low cost of housing. Ecuador topped’s Annual Global Retirement Index last year, and offers a beautiful and diverse landscape with a strong expat community from all over the world.

Ecuador has an excellent healthcare system, which is run by the country’s Social Security administration and costs around $70.00 per month for foreign retirees. Public transport, flight costs, sports and events tickets, plus many electricity bills are half price for anybody over the age of 65. Spanish is the official language here, so it’s definitely worth learning some of the basics before making the big move.

One of the biggest perks about Ecuador is the cost of living and property prices. Renowned for being one of the lowest in the Americas, you can buy a three-bedroom property in the popular city of Cuenca for just $130,000(£106,390). Known as the country’s cultural capital, Cuenca sits high above sea level and has a year-round spring-like climate.

As well as the beautiful cities, Ecuador also has a stunning coastline, and surprisingly, beachfront properties don’t cost any more than if they were further inland. The town of Atacames, also known as Ecuador’s “Green Province”, boasts wide, sandy beaches and calm waters. A three-bedroom home in this area can start at just $84,000 (£68,745), which normally includes access to a shared pool.

There are many more places across the world which are popular to relocate to during retirement, from Spain and France in Europe, and even Australia if you fancy moving much further afield. However, it’s always important to do plenty of research beforehand, and it’s also recommended to rent a property for the first few months before buying somewhere, just to make sure that you’re definitely happy in your new chosen location.

*The above figures are provided for indicative purposes only and are based on the exchange rate, correct as of 11:30 on 18/10/2016

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