The number of people looking for international property online has more than trebled in a year, as new research from Mintel found that around 800,000 British households now own a property abroad.

Primelocation.com found that the number of searches for international property conducted by UK residents jumped 399% in 12 months, with the number leaping up by 25% between February and March alone.

France and Spain top this popularity list, while Italy is also a common choice, as it overtook Portugal for third place. But the country with the most dramatic increase in interest proved to be the United Arab Emirates, which climbed ten places in the past twelve months to sixth most popular country. The research also found that Canada is gaining in popularity, with search volumes up by 285% from last month alone.

Experts are also predicting that, with a further 3% of households intending to buy abroad in the future and another 5% intending to sell up and move abroad, interest in international property will remain strong.

In addition, Savills has also published its latest findings into where people are looking to buy abroad. The report concurs that Spain and France are the countries most commonly chosen by UK buyers, with Italy and Croatia in high demand. A second home which is near the sea is top of the wish list, according to Savills, with other desirable factors househunters abroad seek include a hot climate, and proximity to an airport. Proximity to an airport served by a low-cost airline add an average price premium of 37%.

Most of those looking to buy property abroad are between 45-70, with one eye on investment and rental yield, and the other on a nice place to have to retire to.

Content Editor of Countrylife.co.uk Arabella Youens says she strongly agrees: ‘The popularity of international property advertising within the Country Life premium property bracket has exploded in the past 12 months,’ she said. ‘We’ve responded by launching a new quarterly magazine to reflect this growth, Country Life International, which has gone down a storm both with our readers and advertisers alike.

‘Users searching on Countrylife.co.uk tend to be looking for villas in southern France (Provence and Gascony are favourites) as well as farmhouses in Tuscany (particularly in the wine-growing region of Chianti) and houses in the hills of Mallorca and Andalucia.’

‘Users searching on Countrylife.co.uk tend to be looking for villas in southern France (Provence and Gascony are favourites) as well as farmhouses in Tuscany (particularly in the wine-growing region of Chianti) and houses in the hills of Mallorca and Andalucia.’