World’s Best Places to Live in 2012
If you dream of living abroad, it can be hard to pin down the perfect place to buy. Sotheby’s International Realty and The Telegraph reveal the top 10 locations to live abroad voted by Telegraph readers. Some are familiar and some are most definitely not.
1. Hong Kong
A dynamic, sometimes frantic city, with apartments that are distinctly small and usually 30 or 40 floors up. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Hong Kong is exciting yet safe, and a 30-minute ferry ride from the city centre will take you to tranquil spots such as Lamma Island.
Hong Kong is not really somewhere to put your feet up, but a city to enjoy while your energy levels are at their maximum.
It is best to get the lie of the land by renting first, advises realtor Mitchell Lewis. “You’re looking at £5-6,000 for a reasonable place to rent per month. If you’re buying, it is £800,000 for an apartment on a lower floor, and about £1.25 million for a higher floor. But you need to hold your nerve. Hong Kong is renowned for drastic market swings.”
For sale Hong Kong Parkview, Repulse Bay. A four-bedroom duplex apartment with mountain and harbour views. £1.2 million. Sotheby’s International Realty (00 852 3108 2108; hksothebysrealty.com)
2. New York City
You’re never bored in New York. There are theatres, restaurants, ice-skating in Central Park and helicopter rides over the city.
But living here is no picnic. Stumble over your order at the deli, and the guy behind the counter will lose patience. And while no one talks louder than New Yorkers, what speaks loudest of all is money. This is especially true in the property market.
“A nice flat on the Upper East Side will cost you between £550,000 and £650,000,” says Kathy Coumou of Christie’s International Real Estate, who quotes the average price of a Manhattan apartment as £900,000.
3. North Island, New Zealand
The east coast of North Island gets many of our readers’ votes. The vine-rich island of Waiheke, a ferry ride from Auckland, and the town of Whakatane, on the Bay of Plenty are particularly popular.
Buying in New Zealand is easy. Getting permanent residence is not. Most likely candidates are those under 56 with specific skills. Nurses, electricians and mechanics are currently in demand.
Once there, prospects are bright. A survey by the New Zealand Immigration Service found 88 percent of those who had moved there from the UK and Ireland felt settled in their new country. Expect to pay £200,000 for a simple, three-bedroom beachside house in Whakatane, or £500,000 for a designer ocean-front property of the same size, but out of town.
4. The Turks and Caicos Islands
There are 48 islands in the Turks and Caicos. The most developed is Providenciales, known to locals as “Provo”. One much-loved area is Long Bay Beach, described by one reader as “the perfect location to ease away your aches and pains.” Others love the reefs, for diving and snorkelling, and the fine restaurants.
“Where we differ from some Caribbean islands is that we are very much a destination for high net-worth individuals“, says estate agent Robert Greenwood, raised in Tooting, but a Turks and Caicos man for the past 32 years (www.theturksandcaicos.com). “You get permanent residency rights provided you purchase a property worth over £320,000.”
That’s the headline news. The small print is that the Turks and Caicos Islands are neither near (a 10-12 hour flight from Britain) nor cheap. Prices start at £650,000, rising to £6.5-13 million for a private island estate and 10-bedroom mansion at Parrot Cay.
Permanent residency rights are extended only to those with property worth more than £320,000.
It’s not just the place names (Launceston, Devonport) that evoke the Old Country, it’s the atmosphere, too. There are “pretty villages, stone churches and quiet open roads perfect for real motorists”, declares a Telegraph expat in the east-coast town of Woodbridge.
A historic mansion will set you back £4 million or more, but for £400,000, you can buy a large, river or ocean-side property, with a couple of acres.
Australia is cautious when it comes to issuing residency rights. To buy a property, you must have permission from the all-powerful Foreign Investment Review Board. The board can take 130 days to say yes or no to your application. And if you sell up and buy another property in Australia, you must go through the same process all over again.
So tell us, which location would you consider one of the world’s best places to live?