The British pound is worth about double an American dollar and, for home-hungry Brits looking for that dream pad across the pond, now is the time to buy.
By heading for such less well-known spots as Asheville, North Carolina, could mean you get even more bricks for your bucks. Romantically named “Land of the Sky”, due to its setting in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has been pushed into the spotlight by property website RelocateAmerica, which named it the top place to live in America for 2007.
Buying a second home or investment property in a market as developed as America does not throw up the headaches often associated with less established areas and there are no restrictions on purchase of property by non-US citizens.
Colette Hapgood, from East Sussex, bought a holiday cottage a stone’s throw from downtown Asheville for 125,000 pounds in 2005.
“My husband Tom loves skiing but I am not so keen, so we felt Asheville offered the best of both worlds – great skiing plus culture, shopping and walking, too.”
The house is now worth around 150,000 pounds but they have no plans to sell, as it was never intended as a money-spinner. “We never planned to rent it out,” adds Colette, “and we love it here far too much to ever sell! The icing on the cake would be direct flights from London to Asheville.”
Currently, Brits must fly first to Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city. There are no plans for direct flights from Britain and this may put off some investment buyers who are concerned about ease of access for maintenance and security.
A way around this is to consider buying property in a gated community. Elisabeth Miller-Fox, of PrivateCommunities.com says: “Second homes in exclusive communities make sense for overseas buyers, allowing them to relax knowing that the security and maintenance is being taken care of.”
While the weak dollar presents a fine opportunity to purchase a property, it is vital to consider recurring costs such as property taxes and homeowner insurance. “North Carolina and Asheville in particular, are great choices because quality of life is high while taxes and insurance remain low,” adds Elisabeth.
The Cliffs at Walnut Cove is a private, gated golf course community bordering the Pisgah National Forest and the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Set in meadows but only 15 minutes from downtown Asheville, it offers tennis, swimming and nature trails and the architecture is evocative of French and English country manors.
Purchasers can choose from large home sites set high above the golf course to elegant townhouses and streamside cottages, with lots priced between about 200,000 and 1 million pounds, and ready-built homes from 400,000 to 1.5 million pounds.
The Residences at Biltmore offers a cheaper selection of properties.
For nature lovers, Red Wolf Run promises “mountain cosmopolitan living”, with 70 large homesteads set high in the mountains, minutes from Asheville. Community pavilions and leisure facilities are hidden among wildflower-filled meadows, poplar forests and rivers, with golf, whitewater rafting and skiing just minutes away. One-acre plots start at below 90,000 pounds, while 7.5 acre plots are priced from 400,000 pounds.
Article has been edited. Here's the complete story,"Buck Up to Prosper: It's a Great Time to Leap Aboard the US Property Bandwagon"