Sharon Reid


As we complain incessantly about the weather, standard of living and the exorbitant cost of buying a home, most of us at some point fantasise about moving abroad. A United Nations report* from 2013 found that over five million Britons are now living outside the UK, however a more recent report published by A Place in the Sun;** the UK’s leading overseas property media brand, revealed that the actual figures do not correlate with Brits’ aspirations to live abroad or to own a holiday home overseas.

The United Nations league table of the top ten countries with the most ex-pat Britons shows that Australia, USA and Canada, unsurprisingly come out top partly because English is the primary language. The remainder of the top 10 included holiday favourite Spain, followed by New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, France and a surprise to most, Germany at number nine.

A Place in the Sun’s annual top 10 table shows different results with Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Florida making their top five. All the aforementioned were the most searched for and enquired property destinations of 2015, these results are in stark contrast to the UN migration figures and interestingly highlights a disparity in Brits’ preferences when looking for a holiday or retirement home compared to a permanent abode abroad.

Top 10 Countries with UK ex-pat communities

The current population of the top 10 countries most populated by ex-pats:

Top 10 Countries with UK Expats 2013 Census
Australia 1,277,474
United States of America 758,919
Canada 674,371
Spain 381,025
New Zealand 313,850
South Africa 305,660
Ireland 253,605
France 172,806
Germany 96,938
Italy 72,234


Top 10 Most Popular Buying Locations in 2015




Top 10 Most Popular Buying Locations in 2015
United States of America


Andy Bridge from a Place in the Sun explains some of the reasons behind decisions to purchase property abroad:

“2015 saw a dramatic increase in the number of Brits looking to buy property abroad following the steep decline since the economic woes of 2008. With that seemingly behind us, with overseas property searches doubling between 2014 and 2015, buyers were clearly taking advantage of low prices and a beneficial exchange rate to buy overseas property. Not all property purchased by Brits outside the UK is bought as a primary home, for our property portal users it’s for holidays, retirement and to some extent, investment.”image

To delve deeper A Place in the Sun asked 2,000 over 45 year olds why they would consider emigrating and found that Brits’ decisions were inspired by the following reasons:

  • A better way of life (74%)
  • A warmer climate (70%)
  • More value for their money (26%)
  • A better diet (26%)

Whatever the reason, moving abroad is a huge decision; it is important to research intensively and have an alternative plan just in case things do not work out.

To find out more about the possibility of buying abroad including the latest news and guides for all the top ten destinations, please visit: or visit one of the exhibitions held throughout the year in Manchester, London and Birmingham.


* Trends in International Migrant Stock, conducted in 2013 by the United Nations.

** A Place in the Sun Limited and Vital Statistics researched an online panel of 2,000 UK residents aged 45+ in January 2016.