When it comes to the cost of everyday living in some of the most popular locations for British expats, Spain comes out as having the best value, according to new research.
The research, which compares the cost of a basket of groceries, shows that Portugal is the next cheapest, followed by France. But France was not that much more expensive than Portugal, according to the annual cost of living survey from Property Guides.
For example, the cost of a loaf of bread was cheapest in Spain at 54 pence compared to 89 pence in the UK and 96 pence in France with Portugal the most expensive at £1.01. Eggs, tomatoes and milk are also cheaper in Spain.
But cheese is more expensive in Spain at £4.04 for 500g compared to £3.45 in France, £3.13 in Portugal and just £2.50 in the UK. Beef is also more expensive in Spain at £5.04 per 500g compared to £4.84 in France, £4 in the UK and £3.13 in Portugal.
Chicken is considerably cheaper in Spain at just 85 pence for 500g compared with £3.50 in the UK, £2.34 in Portugal and £1.90 in France. Beer is also very cheap in Spain and Portugal at 38 pence and 39 pence but £1.20 in the UK and £1.72 in France.
Wine is the most expensive in the UK with a bottle of red coming in at £6.50 but is also fairly pricey in France at £4.48, yet just £2.10 in Spain and a bargain at £1.56 in Portugal. Coca cola is also the most expensive in the UK at £1.84 for 1.75 litres compared with £1.29 in Portugal, £1.10 in Spain and £1.03 in France.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a box of 20 teabags is cheapest in the UK at 75 pence but £1.01 in Portugal, £1.03 in France and £1.29 in Spain. Coffee is more expensive in Portugal at £4.91 for 200g but £3.87 in Spain, £2.80 in the UK and £2.76 in France.
When it comes to household goods, washing up liquid is pricey in France at £1.38 for 500 ml compared with 77 pence in Spain, 59 pence in the UK and 53 pence in Portugal, with laundry detergent much more expensive in the UK at £9 for 40 washes yet just £4.14 in France, £3.87 in Spain and £3.90 in Portugal.
Overall the full basket of shopping that covers over 25 everyday items comes to £36.86 in Spain, £43,32 in Portugal, £47.65 in France and much more at £55.67 in the UK. However the research was done in May, before the UK voted to leave the European Union and currency rates have changed considerably since then.
The research shows that Spain has now been the cheapest for everyday items for two years. Also, in a number of cases, the price of everyday essentials in France, Spain and Portugal costs less in 2016 than in the previous year, when the sterling-euro exchange rate was particularly strong.
So, although the fluctuating exchange rates mean that larger purchases, such as buying a property, are effected, there is not a significant different to the overall cost of living, according to Elaine Ferguson, head of Property Guides Resource Centre.
‘It is also an eye opener when comparing prices to the UK, as living costs in the destinations most popular with UK expats and holidaymakers are all noticeably cheaper. It is an incentive for those who are serious about enjoying the quality of life offered in Europe to continue with their plans to buy, despite the referendum decision,’ she said.
‘As all three countries rely heavily on British investment into the local economy and property markets, we expect this strong relationship to continue and for British property owners to enjoy their time in these countries for many years to come,’ she added.