By Humphrey Carter

THE recession does not appear to be deterring Britons from living their dream and either moving or owning a property overseas.
According to a recent survey carried out by Halifax International, four percent of Britons already own an overseas property while 27 percent of the country is considering the option of either moving overseas or buying a property abroad in the future.

Spain and France continue to be the most popular European destination for Britons wanting to come abroad, although many are waiting until the Pound regains some of its strength against the Euro. A growing number of financial experts are forecasting that the pound will start to rise again against the euro this summer. However, the global credit crunch has brought a number of problems faced by Britons living overseas to the attention of the government. Last month, Gillian Merron, the Minister for Consular Affairs, said that many Britons living here in Spain are not adequately prepared to cope when the hard times hit - such as now.

After paying a fact finding tour she concluded that the biggest problems are faced by the elderly who have retired over here to then face the problems of ill health or losing their partner. For years, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided a “know before you go” digital advice service on its web site for Britons going abroad on holiday, now, similar measures are being taken to advise those considering a move overseas to countries like Spain. “Before people give everything up in the UK, I want them to be prepared for difficult times and think twice before making the move,” she said during her visit.

In Alicante, for example, the British Consulate has recently set up an outreach service for Britons who wish to discuss their problems with consular officials at local surgeries.

But, while the outreach programme may be expanded across the country, the British government is going to be focusing its attention on making sure Britons know exactly where they are moving to, what the very real situation is before they make the move and to be prepared if they finally decided to sell up.