Every year we ask Property Guides’ global team of writers overseas to recommend the most exciting, interesting or just plain likeable places to buy a property abroad. Here’s our hottest takes for 2022. Just make sure you buy a property with an extra bedroom, because you’ll definitely be having friends over to stay.
While the last couple of years has taken a toll on us all and some much more than others, it’s also given us time to assess our lives. Are we doing the right things? Should we prioritise other areas of our lives? Would we be happier and more fulfilled doing something different somewhere else?
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If you’re feeling the call to switch things up, perhaps a move is on the cards? As the world opens up, the team at Property Guides – globetrotters all – has put together its best options for an international move.
We have factored in essentials like the cost of living, capacity for remote work and work life balance. There was a lot – and I mean a LOT – of discussion and argument in the team about which made the 22, but we believe that these offer the most promise for 2022.
See you there?
Málaga, Costa del Sol, Spain
If improving your quality of life is what’s making you consider a move, Málaga might be the option for you. The beautiful Spanish city ranked second place in the Quality of Urban Living Index 2021 and third on the Getting Settled Index, which considers how easy it is to make new friends and build an active social life.
With a thriving expat population and some of the most welcoming locals in Spain, your social calendar is likely to be full in no time. Málaga’s Mediterranean climate means long, hot, dry summers and mild winters, making it perfect for hitting the beach, or the golf course. In fact, this is a golf lovers’ paradise, with over 50 courses within driving distance of the city.
Athens – Greece
The pandemic changed many people’s opinion of Greece. The government under Brit-friendly PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is generally seen to have performed well, while nowhere feels safer during a pandemic than an island in the sparkling Mediterranean!
A recent poll conducted by packaging retailer, RAJA, ranked Athens as the best place to move to in 2022. To determine their winner, they examined all the good stuff, like employment rate, safety, cost of living and healthcare. Rent prices are an incredible 135% lower in Athens than in the UK and you’ll save almost 16% on your grocery bill. You’ll also have access to the Mediterranean diet that’s proven to help you live longer and that sees Greece rank consistently in the Top 20 for countries with the longest life expectancy.
Finally, the Greek Golden Visa programme is currently approving more people than Portugal’s coveted scheme. For a minimum investment in real estate of €250,000 and a processing time of just six months, you can get a Greek residence card that grants you full EU rights.
Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland
In 2021, more than 2,400 members of the public ranked 470 locations in Ireland to determine the shortlist for The Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland. Clonakilty was a runaway favourite. The judges declared Clonakilty, ‘a progressive and forward-looking community which champions inclusivity and diversity, a trailblazing town which may be seen as blueprint for other towns globally.’
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It is Ireland’s first ‘fair-trade’ town, it has been awarded ‘cool community’ status for its efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and it offers access to sandy beaches (12 within 12 miles), artisanal food, coffee and produce.
Austin, Texas, USA
Yep, Florida is nice. But anyone hopping across the pond in pursuit of the American Dream should consider Austin, Texas. Over the course of the pandemic, more than 150 companies either announced plans to move to Austin, or said they would be creating more jobs in their current premises in the city. Employers like Apple, Dell, Tesla – the big guns. Pretty much all major tech companies have chosen Austin.
However, it’s not all work and no play in this multi-cultural city – Austin is rich in green spaces, was listed one of the most-bike friendly cities in the US and is known for its food scene and impressive cultural calendar that includes events like SXSW.
And if you’re worried about Texans being a bit, well, Texan, imagine your neighbours as such likeable Austinites as Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.
Often referred to as ‘the new Tuscany’, Puglia is fast becoming a favourite with expats on the hunt for low cost living, gorgeous beaches and a slice of ‘la dolce vita’ (the sweet life). One of the major draws of Puglia is that it’s still possible to find country homes or trulli starting from as little as €30,000 – although you should expect to have to do a little renovation work.
Puglia is home to a dreamy 800km of Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastline, characterised by sandy beaches and crystal clear water, with a pine forest backdrop. This region is also famous for its olive oil and wine, so prepare to enjoy the finer things in life, without the usual price tag.
Regularly ranked in Top Tens of the best cities to live in in France, Limoges offers high employment rates, a rich cultural programme of music and theatre and the purest air quality in France.
As of 2021, the average sale price for houses in the city is just €156,000. The climate of Limoges is ideal for those who prefer to avoid blazing sunshine. During summer, peak temperatures rarely exceed 24°C and during winter it’s unusual for temperatures to drops below zero.
Set in central France, Limoges is around a five-hour drive from the Channel ports and has flights from UK with Ryanair.
With soaring costs in Lisbon, many are moving to its more bohemian cousin just three hours north. Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto is home to a large expat community and has one of the country’s three international airports. So it’s both easy to make new friends and encourage your old ones to visit.
Porto is a safe, walkable city, with a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene and a number of beaches within its city limits. It is dripping in history, but is supremely liveable today too, with excellent healthcare. Renting is cheaper than many other similarly vibrant cities within Europe – some 70% cheaper than London, for example – so the city is attracting ‘digital nomads’ by the thousand. For a single person renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, it’s possible to live on under £1,200 a month.
Porto is no longer a destination where you can apply for a golden visa, so if this is your plan, consider some of the nearby towns and cities such as Braga or Guimaraes a little further inland, or along the Douro Valley.
Valencia – Spain
A favourite with digital nomads due to its low cost of living and beachside location, Valencia is great spot to move in 2022.
The city offers a charming blend of Medieval and Post-modern architecture, excellent bike routes, fantastic healthcare and clean beaches. The surrounding countryside is perfect for hikers and you can be in Madrid on the fast train in under two hours, or back in the UK in 2.5 hours.
Valencia is a dream for the budget conscious too. With ‘menu del dias’ clocking in at as little as £9 for three courses and a glass of wine unlikely to set you back more than £2, you can enjoy the fantastic alfresco dining scene every day of the week.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Improve your chances of living to see 100 with a move to one of the world’s Blue Zones – the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. In these areas residents are proven to live longer, due to a winning combination of healthy diets, active lifestyles, community ties and sunshine.
The Nicoya Peninsula offers a tropical climate, affordable and high-quality healthcare and an incredible ecosystem rich in beaches, jungle and wildlife. The cost of living remains affordable, with a couple able to live comfortably on £1,850 per month.
Also, the country is the safest in Central America, with a progressive and environmentally-focused government. Retirees will enjoy perks like a lower tax threshold and being allowed to import two cars and a container of home goods completely tax free.
The country offers a Digital Nomad Visa, which allows you to live in Costa Rica for one year (with room to extend for an additional year) without having to pay tax as long as you can prove you earn more than US$3,000 (approx. £2,200) per month.
Paris – France
Property prices in Paris have been falling lately. Mainly that has been down to Parisians moving to the countryside to work from home (with prices rising hugely in places like Brittany). However it is also down to tax increases and a cut in subsidies that date back to François Hollande’s time in office.
Whatever the reason, now is a great time to snap up a home in the City of Love. With the 2024 Olympics on the horizon, the city is improving its infrastructure, with many areas, including the Rue de Rivoli and parts of the Champs Elyseés becoming pedestrianised.
Paris remains one of the most desirable cities in the world, recently ranking second on Resonance’s annual, Best City to Live in the World Index 2021. The index determines rankings by examining factors including cultural programming, how easy it is to get around, the city’s diversity and its ability to rebound after the pandemic.
If someone told you there was a country that blends the best of California, Tuscany and the Greek Islands, you’d be booking yourself on the next flight, right? Well, that place is Malta and a one-way ticket will cost just £50. Malta’s location in the southern Mediterranean guarantees some 3,000 hours of sunshine per year (about double the UK’s).
No wonder the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed an idyllic start to their married life here, and the country has always welcomed the Brits. With English as one of its official languages, a nationwide 5G network and an affordable Nomad Residency Permit, the country is set up for new arrivals that want to hit the ground running.
Team that with the fact you don’t require a vehicle and a couple can live comfortably for £1,700 per month and Malta could be your dream spot for a move in 2022.
Burlington, Ontario – Canada
Located on the banks of Lake Ontario, just one hour from downtown Toronto, Burlington is ideal for those wanting to combine big city living with proximity to nature.
The city is located in Canada’s prosperous Golden Horseshoe region, so you can expect job opportunities across a range of sectors and generous salaries and benefits once you are employed. Burlington is also one for lovers of the great outdoors, with 580 hectares of parkland spread across 115 city parks. Furthermore, the schools, colleges and healthcare options available in the city are some of the best in Canada.
Aljezur – Portugal
This year Portugal changed the rules about which types of property and locations still qualify for their Golden Visa Scheme. While Lisbon, Porto and much of the Algarve are out, a number of mainland and lesser-known coastal regions are still eligible, including the relatively off-the-grid surf haven of Aljezur. Find out more about Aljezur here.
Aljezur is a charming town with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and historical sites. It offers the best surfing beaches on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, as well as excellent hiking, biking, bird watching and Faro airport is just 1.5 hours away. View a full list of towns which are still eligible for the Golden Visa, here (pages 2-4).
If you’re looking for a vibrant and truly international hub, Munich is a superb option, as 37% of the population hail from elsewhere.
Many flock to the city to take up highly-paid roles in financial services, consumer electronics, or the automotive industry. In Mercer’s most recent Quality of Living City Ranking, Munich came joint third, alongside Vancouver and Auckland. The Bavarian capital is also considered the safest city in Germany and while cost of living is relatively high it is only the 49th most expensive city in Europe and remains 35% cheaper than New York and 9.7% cheaper than London.
Tbilisi – Georgia
One spot that is particularly popular with digital nomads is the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, much-loved for its unusual ancient architecture which combines Asian and European influences, low cost of living and relaxed visa requirements.
It’s possible to rent a flat in the city for as little as US$250 per month, but for something spacious and well-located expect to pay a wholly reasonable $400. According to Numbeo, a single person living in the city can expect monthly costs of just £311, excluding rent.
Christchurch – New Zealand
New Zealand is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a fresh start. The nation ranks well on the Global Peace Index and according to HSBC’s 2021 Expat Explorer survey, expats in New Zealand have a more positive outlook for the future than expats in any other country.
So, why Christchurch? Well, since the Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the city has gone through an exciting rebirth. Not only has it been rebuilt to be safer, but it’s the cheapest of New Zealand’s three biggest cities, making buying a home far more affordable than Wellington and Auckland on the North Island. Currently, the median house price stands at NZ$600,000.
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If you work in construction, manufacturing or IT, Christchurch is booming with well-paid opportunities. There are 700 parks in the city, totalling more than 3,000 hectares and the city’s location means that ocean, rivers, mountains and lakes are no more than an hour or two away.
It’s hard to ignore the lure of no state income tax that Florida offers. According to Bankrate’s list of the Best Places to Live in the US in 2022, Tampa is the highest ranking spot in the Sunshine State.
People are flocking to the Tampa Bay area to make the most of affordable cost of living, excellent educational institutions and jobs at high-profile employers including CitiGroup. Remote workers will be pleased to hear LinkedIn ranked Tampa 3rd of the best large US cities set up for remote workers.
Additional benefits of this safe and fast-growing city include, a relaxed beachside lifestyle, over 130 nationalities and a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaigns Municipality Index, which ranks cities on how welcoming they are to the LGBTQ+ community.
With Adelaide recruiting a minimum of 5,000 skilled migrants a year, moving to the City of Churches could be within your reach. While Adelaide is often overlooked in favour of Australia’s larger cities, the South Australian city offers a country-vibe with just over one million residents and far more affordable real estate. The median property price in Adelaide is AUD$750,000 – two hundred thousand less than in Sydney.
Don’t spend any money on your move abroad until you’ve read The Currency Guide to Emigration, free to download.
The average temperature in Adelaide is a comfortable 22 degrees, perfect for enjoying the almost 100km of beach that line the city. Still undecided? See where else to buy in Australia in 2022
In 2021, Switzerland ranked 4th on the World Happiness Index. Perhaps that has something to do with the colossal wages available to you if you work in the right industries, with the average expat salary clocking in at an average of $200,000!
While Geneva and Basel are also excellent choices, Zurich ranks highest on Mercer’s Quality of Living Index. In addition to wages, those that move here will enjoy a relaxed political climate, first-class transport connections, fresh alpine air and incredible outdoor activities all year round. Maybe it’s that combo that puts the Swiss life expectancy at an average of 82.45 years – fourth highest in the world.
Our writer in Cyprus lives in Limassol, so she may be a little biased. Even so, Limassol, on Cyprus’s southern coast, is perfect for those moving in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. The cosmopolitan city offers beachside living in the summer, skiing in the winter and limitless opportunity for hiking, cycling, horse riding and golfing.
Every year you can expect to soak up 3,650 hours of sunshine. If it’s a renovation project you’re after, there are serious bargains to be found in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, or in the city it’s possible to snap up city centre apartments from €120,000, or villas from €340,000.
There are many reasons why Vancouver is always high on the list of Best Cities to Live in the World. It has it all – mountains, beaches, coastline, islands, a thriving urban centre and beautiful residential suburbs.
Vancouver boasts a prosperous and diverse jobs market, making it easy to find well paid jobs, many of which are in the TV and film industry, as the city is the most popular location for filming after LA and New York.
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New arrivals from across the Pacific, Asia and Europe have joined the First People to create a vital and dynamic city with a culture, cuisine and spirit all of its own. So, just like most cities these days? Well, yes, but the difference with Vancouver is that the wilderness is never far away. From bears to bald eagles, wolves to humpback whales, if your access to wildlife has hitherto been limited to the BBC’s Big Garden Birdwatch, you’re in for a treat.
The city really does offer the best of the best – from schools, hospitals and public transport, to shopping, parkland and cultural events, Vancouver is hard to beat.
Outside of Istanbul, Bodrum is Turkey’s ritziest spot, with a rich history of attracting artists, writers and celebrities to its shores, including Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks.
Read more about buying a home in your favourite country by clicking on the link: France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, USA, Canada, Turkey, UK, Ireland…
This beachside city is perfect for families, with excellent work and education opportunities, all on the shores of the Aegean Sea. Here, you’ll enjoy year round sunshine and very little rain, with temperatures ranging from 15°C in winter, up to 34°C during summer months. Property remains affordable, with beach front villas available starting from £240,000.