More and more Americans are moving to Europe, pushed across the Atlantic by the rising cost of living in the US, inflated house prices, the rise of the dollar and political rancor, writes Bloomberg, according to Agerpres.
Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece and France are among the most popular destinations. Sotheby’s International Realty said inquiries from Americans looking to move to Greece rose 40 percent in the April-June period compared with a year earlier. In France and Italy, demand is the highest it has been in three years, according to Knight Frank property specialist Jack Harris. Americans accounted for 12 percent of Sotheby’s Italian revenue in the first quarter, compared with just 5 percent in the same period a year ago.
Retirees and the wealthy have traditionally been the main American buyers of real estate in Europe. But relatively cheap housing — especially in smaller cities — and the rise of telecommuting have made Europe attractive to a broad swath of Americans, including those who are younger and can no longer afford to buy a home in the US.
Rising crime rates in some US cities and US political divisions have prompted Americans to look across the Atlantic for a quieter lifestyle, supported by a euro that has just fallen to parity with the US dollar for the first time in more than 20 years.
For Stephanie Synclair, 40, of Atlanta, buying a home in Italy was a longtime dream that came true in April.
Paying $3,000 a month to rent a four-bedroom house for her and her son in Atlanta, she found it impossible to become a homeowner as prices skyrocketed, even though she had $300,000 in cash on hand.
She turned to Italy, a country she had always loved, and managed to buy a house
She turned to Italy, a country she had always loved, and managed to buy a 288 square meter house in Mussomeli, Sicily, as well as a smaller house next door and a small 74 square meter street shop — all for 60,000 euros, writes Bloomberg.
“I would never have looked to buy in Italy if the US market hadn’t been so crazy,” the entrepreneur said. She plans to work remotely and envisions a “bella vita”, with good food and wine, along with a local literary club and an art space she plans to launch in her high street shop, “reminiscent of the scene art of Paris from the 1920s”.
“The rising cost of living has made living in any major US city more expensive than in European cities,” said Michael Witkowski, vice president of US expat consultancy ECA International. “Expensive house prices, as well as a strong US dollar and political tensions are all contributing factors to Europe’s growing appeal.”
Certainly, it is not always easy to move to another country. There are visa requirements and the tax situation can be complicated and expensive. The US taxes all its citizens regardless of where they live, and working remotely for a US company while the worker is in another country can create tax headaches for both the employee and the employer.
To address some of these issues, Italy will begin offering foreigners a remote work visa, which Synclair hopes to obtain. The government also introduced a program in 2019 to sell one-euro houses in rural areas to foreign buyers who would pay for renovations and boost the local economy.