If we ever move to abroad (and settling in Spain has been something we've considered a lot over the years as we both speak the language) we would definitely only rent for at least the first 6 months so that we were not tied down if we decided that having longer holidays there was the way forward rather than being based there. If we sold our property in the UK, we'd use some of the proceeds to buy a smaller place in a UK area where the property could be easily rented out (long-term lets or holiday rental) and we'd then still have a foot on the UK property ladder if we eventually returned to the UK. Many ex-pats find that UK property prices have outstripped their overseas property investment nad they can't afford to buy back into the UK market 10 , 15 or 20 years after leaving these shores. The big exodus of Brits abroad to non-English speaking countries, is causing more and more issues as those ex-pats age and are widowed etc. The tendency was to buy in ex-pat communities and the prices were higher than in the local housing market. The properties will probably only ever sell again to ex-pats. Many elderly women are finding themselves stranded as they either don't drive or haven't driven abroad. Health care becomes an issue when you don't speak the language and many Spanish hospitals can no longer cope with the cost of providing translators for patients and require them to provide their own. The economy in Spain is in a worse state than ours and youth unemployment is high. My Spanish friend, in her fifties, had been a dental assistant for years and was made redundant a couple of years ago. She hasn't managed to get alternative work.