Despite talk of market jitters caused by the credit crunch, the British spent nearly £24 billion buying international property last year. British buyers obtained more than 240,000 homes, an increase of 21% on 2006, says a new report.

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The figures reveal the enduring appeal of established destinations with 25.4% of British property purchases abroad in Spain, followed by France, slightly down at 17%. Moving up one place from last year, America came in third at 9.7%, bumping Bulgaria down a spot.

‘Some might be surprised to hear that Spain still is number one as the primary destination for Britons buying abroad as there has been some negative media coverage about the Spanish property market,’ says Paul Owen, chief executive officer of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) that carried out the research.

The remainder of the top 10 destinations is a combination of established and emerging markets, including Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Morocco, Dubai and Turkey.

‘The average spend, up just one per cent on last year, is being kept at a consistent level probably due to the wealth of many new destinations at low entry prices,’ adds Mr Owen.

It can be fiendishly difficult calculating market size overseas. The figures in this report are for completed property transactions only and not for deposits paid. Publishing only verified numbers makes this report the most reliable source of information in the industry, claims the AIPP.

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Look out for the Spring issue of COUNTRY LIFE INTERNATIONAL published this Thursday with articles covering the most luxurious houses for sale, the top 5 eco developments around the world and thousands of properties for sale