Market News & Insights
5 March 2018

4 of the Most Popular Destinations for British Expats

One in 10 people born in the UK live in other countries, and it is estimated that 1.3 million British people live in other EU countries. According to the Expats Blog, more British people choose to leave the UK and create a life of their own than in any other country – but why is this? From retiring in a country with warmer weather and a slower pace of life, to moving to a country for the same job that pays more, many native UK residents choose to move abroad for a number of reasons.

According to the BBC, 5.5 million British people are living permanently abroad – but which countries are they choosing to move to? What makes that country so appealing? The following are four of the most popular destinations for British expats to move to.

 

Australia

Australia has a free market economy, with four main components: manufacturing, trade, services and finance. According to the 2017 Social Progress Index, Australia was ranked 9th in terms of quality of life and well-being, three positions above the UK (12th).

Number of Britons living in Australia

There are 1.2 million British expats living in Australia (BBC), which has been a favourite place for Britons to move to for years. One of the main reasons they choose to flock there is because it offers a better quality of life, and a much warmer climate.

Climate in the UK vs Australia

The table below shows the average temperatures in the UK and Australia during the Summer and Winter seasons.

  United Kingdom Australia
Summer 19 °C 30 °C
Winter 5 °C 15 °C

Northern Australia’s climate has a tropically influenced climate, with humid, hot summers and dry winters. Southern Australia has mild summers and rainy winters occasionally. When you compare this to the maritime climate of the UK, cooler summers and mild winters, it is easy to see why so many people choose to live there.

Average salary in Australia

According to ifitweremyhome.com, UK expats moving to Australia will make 15.28% more money than they would in Britain, because the GDP per capita in Australia in $43,000 and $37,300 in England. The unemployment rate in Australia sits at 5.6%, – 1.4% higher than the UK (4.2%) which suggests it may be a harder to find a job there. However, Australia’s unemployment rate is predicted to fall to 4.78% by 2022 (Statista).

Cost of living in Australia

Expatistan states that the cost of living in Australia is 5% more expensive than living in the UK – housing is 12% more expensive than those in the UK, food costs 19% more, and entertainment is 25% more expensive. It is important to remember that the average salary is higher in Australia, so the cost of living will match this (to a degree). However, transportation is 18% cheaper, and personal care items such as toiletries is 5% cheaper. The table below compares prices of basic items.

 Cost of Living Australia UK %
2 bedroom flat in city (monthly rent) £1,686 £1,863 -9%
2 bedroom flat in suburbs (monthly rent) £1,226 £1,207 +2%
8 Mbps Internet (monthly) £32 £21 +53%
Heating, gas, water & electric for 2 bed flat (monthly) £192 £168 +14%
1 liter milk £0.75 £0.86 -12%
500g local cheese £5.23 £4.35 +20%
12 large eggs £3.27 £2.66 +23%
1 liter of gas for car £0.76 £1.18 -36%
1 15 minute visit to private Doctor £38 £67 -43%

 

Ireland

Ireland has a modern knowledge-based economy, with focus on high-tech industries and services dependant on industry, trade and investment. Ireland’s economy is one of the fastest growing in Europe, and the Bank of Ireland forecast GDP growth of 4.8% in 2017, after a 5.1% growth in 2016. The 2017 Social Progress Index, ranks Ireland 11th place for quality of life and well-being out of 128 countries, and is one position above the UK.

Number of Britons living in Ireland

Full fact state that in 2017 there were 280,000 British people living in Ireland, and is quickly becoming a popular place for British business owners to move their service and technology businesses. Alongside this, many Brits are choosing to invest in Irish property due to the fast growing property bubble. Ireland is also becoming a place for Brits to move to after retiring.

Climate in UK vs Ireland

The table below shows the average temperatures in the UK and Ireland during the Summer and Winter seasons.

  United Kingdom Ireland
 Summer 19 °C 16 °C
 Winter 5 °C 5 °C

The UK has a maritime climate with mild winters and cooler summers. Ireland’s climate is influenced by the Atlantic ocean, which means there is not an extreme temperature change. Both climates are fairly similar, but Southern Britain generally sees warmer months in comparison.

Average salary in Ireland

UK expats can expect to earn 11% more than the average salary in the UK (itweremyhome). The average annual salary for full-time workers in Ireland is €36,919 (£32,583.20) (The Irish Examiner) and £27,600 (€31,272.71) for the UK (Startus Magazine). However, the unemployment rate is 6.1% in Ireland – 1.9% higher than the UK. It could be argued that this low unemployment rate is down to the undeveloped industrial economy, which requires high-capital external investment, decreasing the need for labour, whilst increasing the demand for export, and creating high levels of GDP and much lower levels of GNP.

Cost of living in Ireland

Numbeo states that the overall cost of living in Ireland is 11.86% higher than living in the United Kingdom. Housing is 8% more expensive than those in the UK (but cheaper in Dublin when you compare it to London), groceries cost 17% more, and entertainment activities such as going to the cinema costs 13% more. There are many reasons as to why the cost of living is much more expensive than the UK, one of them being; the population of Ireland is much lower than the UK, and importing items doesn’t come cheap. The table below compares prices of basic items.

Cost of Living Ireland UK %
2 bedroom flat in city (monthly rent) £1,810 £1,863 -3%
2 bedroom flat in suburbs (monthly rent) £1,381 £1,207 +14%
8 Mbps Internet (monthly) £34 £21 +59%
Heating, gas, water & electric for 2 bed flat (monthly) £131 £168 -22%
1 liter milk £1.06 £0.86 +23%
500g local cheese £4.73 £4.35 +9%
12 large eggs £3.40 £2.66 +28%
1 liter of gas for car £1.21 £1.18 +2%
1 15 minute visit to private Doctor £50 £67 -25%

 

USA

The US is has the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP, and is the second largest Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). America’s economy is a highly developed mixed economy, that is powered by high productivity, a well-developed infrastructure and an abundance of natural resources, being valued at $45 trillion in 2016.  America takes 18th place in the 2017 Social Progress Index, for quality of life and well-being out of 128 countries, six positions beneath the UK. This is because America has the highest wage gap between rich and poor, and in 2014 Feeding America stated that 49 million Americans were “food insecure”, and 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger in the US.

Number of Britons living in USA

According to the BBC, 1.3 million brits live in America and Canada – 24% of them are retired Brits. Many parts of America have warm weather, open spaces and a relaxed lifestyle, so it is easy to see why so many Britons choose to move there after retirement.

Climate in the UK vs USA

Comparing the UK’s climate to USA would be unfair as America has 50 states, (11 of which are bigger than the UK) and is 40 times the size of the island nation. Due to the different latitudes and geographic features across the US, the climate varies greatly. For example. It has a Mediterranean climate along the California coast, but a subarctic climate in Alaska and the northwestern corner of the North American continent.

Average salary in the USA

UK expats can expect to earn 41.55% more than the average salary in the UK (itweremyhome). The average annual salary for full-time workers in America is $52,800, compared to $37,300  The unemployment rate in America is 0.1% lower than the UK, at 4.1%, but the income gap between the wealthy and the poor in America is the highest than any developed country. 14.8% of the US population were living in poverty in 2014.

Cost of living in the USA

According to Numbeo the overall cost of living in USA is 9% cheaper than the cost of living in the UK. However, basic food items cost 7% more, and personal care (such as healthcare and toiletries) are 25% more expensive. That being said, transportation is 35% cheaper than the UK’s, and housing is 4% cheaper.

Cost of Living USA UK %
2 bedroom flat in city (monthly rent) £1,465 £1,863 -21%
2 bedroom flat in suburbs (monthly rent) £1,122 £1,207 -7%
8 Mbps Internet (monthly) £34 £21 +63%
Heating, gas, water & electric for 2 bed flat (monthly) £122 £168 -27%
1 liter milk £0.65 £0.86 -25%
500g local cheese £4.48 £4.35 +3%
12 large eggs £2.29 £2.66 -14%
1 liter of gas for car £0.49 £1.18 -58%
1 15 minute visit to private Doctor £78 £67 +17%

 

Spain

Spain has a mixed-capitalist economy, and is the fifth largest in Europe, behind the UK, Italy, Germany and France. Spanish GDP grew by 3.2% in 2015, and between 2014 – 2015 Spain had recovered 85% of the GDP that was lost during the recession of 2009. Because of this exceptional growth, Spain is forecast to stay as one of the best performing major economies in the Eurozone. Spain ranks 16th place (out of 128 countries) in the 2017 Social Progress Index, for quality of life – four places under the UK.

Number of Britons living in Spain

According to the British Expat Guide, 380,000 Brits are residing in Spain. According to The Guardian the proportion of Brits choosing to retire in Spain has doubled over the last decade and UK expats who are 65 and over now make up 40% of the the British community in spain.

Climate in UK vs Spain

The table below shows the average temperatures in the UK and Spain during the Summer and Winter seasons.

  United Kingdom Spain
Summer 19 °C 20 °C
Winter 5 °C 10 °C

Spain has three different climate zones, due to its vast size and geographical location. Many tourists are familiar with the mediterranean climate; hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The vast central plateau, or Meseta, has a more continental influenced climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Spain has over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year – compare this with the UK’s 1,493 hours of sunshine a year (CR), along with the cooler summers and rainy weather and it is easy to see why so many Brits flock there.

Average salary in Spain

The average salary in Spain pays 19.3% less than the UK, according to itweremyhome. Pay disparity is an issue across Spain, with the average salary in Madrid standing at €36,902 and Valencia dropping to €24,512. Unemployment in Spain is also much higher than the UK, sitting at 17.1%.

Cost of living in Spain

According to Numbeo, the overall cost of living in Spain 26% cheaper than the cost of living in the United Kingdom. Housing is 29% cheaper in Spain, food items are 13% cheaper, transportation is 41% cheaper and entertainment 10% cheaper. This could be because wages are much less than wages in the UK. Since the housing market collapse in 2008, buying property in Spain has been a very cheap investment, and the cost of living has remained relatively low. Because of this, Spain has become a great place for those looking for an easier and more affordable home from home in a warmer climate.

Cost of Living Spain UK %
2 bedroom flat in city (monthly rent) £1,106 £1,863 -41%
2 bedroom flat in suburbs (monthly rent) £748 £1,207 -38%
8 Mbps Internet (monthly) £28 £21 +32%
Heating, gas, water & electric for 2 bed flat (monthly) £125 £168 -25%
1 liter milk £0.77 £0.86 -25%
500g local cheese £5.16 £4.35 +19%
12 large eggs £2.07 £2.66 -22%
1 liter of gas for car £1.06 £1.18 -11%
1 15 minute visit to private Doctor £46 £67 -31%

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