Euro hell

As the Euro hits 1.26 against the pound, it’s become clear that the continent is going to be more expensive than Brits have been used to. In fact it’s already happened – on a break to Barcelona I got a bit of a shock when the cash machines revealed the exchange rate and it doesn’t look like getting any better.

For now, anyway, gone are the good old days when you could feel confident that spending time in the Euro zone was a way of saving cash. Now supper out somewhere nice will cost you just as much or more, and it’s not just food and mini breaks this affects.

Property here is also much more expensive that it was last year, so of course just as everyone starts to feel poor, muttering about credit crunches under their breath, that lovely second home you were looking at in France just got a little less affordable. And yes, in the long term we have to be confident that things will return to their usual state, but for now we’re faced with mortgage worries in the UK and more expensive houses abroad.

Of course, there are still bargains to be had in the US, but a second home needs to be nearby which brings us back to Britain. The main requirements for a second home are the following: Ease of travel, being easy on the eye and constituting an easy way of investing. Ideally your second home would be somewhere you could end up spending much more time in later life.

All of which gives you plenty of choice within the UK itself, but in terms of investment you could do worse than settle on a place on the coast. Obviously Cornwall and Devon are overrun with second but they are also not the only places worth considering. In fact there are some overlooked areas which are easier to reach, cheaper and less full of Londoners.

For instance, consider the Isle of Wight, from which it is only two hours to London, but where there are many pretty period properties on picture postcard beaches, the likes of which you just wouldn’t find on the mainland. Or consider the pretty villages on the Hampshire/Dorset border like Studland and Milford-on-Sea. Prices are not stratospheric and the charm of these relatively unspoilt areas beats anything you might want to consider in rural France, with the bonus of knowing that your investment is pretty sure to go up, regardless of any mysterious worldwide currency fluctuations.