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Life abroad puts home ownership in reach for expats

Two thirds of expats globally own property and a significant number agree that living abroad has helped them to achieve this financial goal.

Property back home

More than twice as many expats (41%) say life abroad has accelerated their progress towards property ownership (compared to 19% who say it has not). This trend is true regardless of age, income or how long they have lived abroad.

Some countries stand out, with 66% of expats in Saudi Arabia agreeing that living abroad has increased the speed at which they were able to own a property. More than half of the expats surveyed in Qatar (61%), Oman (54%), UAE (53%) Singapore (52%) and Canada (51%) say the same thing.

Expats in the Middle East have some of the highest property ownership figures globally – over two thirds (69%) of expats in Bahrain and three quarters (78%) in Saudi Arabia and Oman. However, expats in the Middle East are far more likely to own property back home (64%) rather than buying when they arrive in their host country (11%).

Buying abroad

In other regions the situation is reversed, with 74% of expats in Canada, 69% of expats in France, and 67% of expats in New Zealand owning property in their new country rather than at home.

Countries in which expats buy property also tend to see expats remaining there for longer. For example, Canada emerges from the survey as the place where expats are most likely to buy property after arriving (74%), but it’s also somewhere that many expats have stayed for the long term. Eight in ten (80%) expats in our sample tell us they have lived in Canada for more than five years, closely followed by New Zealand (73%) and France (67%). Around the world almost half (47%) of the expats surveyed who buy property in their new country feel it is a good investment.

Property close to downtown improves quality of life: less commuting and more time with friends and family.- British expat in Canada

Best of both worlds

The financial hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong offer the best of both worlds. Around a quarter (28% in Singapore and 24% in Hong Kong) own property in their adopted home and 56% own property in their country of origin. This could be related to high average salaries in both locations ($169,756 in Hong Kong and $138,641 in Singapore).

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Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

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