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quirky properties in picturesque locations for less than 20% of the price of the average London home

Evening Standard Homes & Property logoEvening Standard Homes & Property 4 days ago Meghann Murdock
a train traveling down tracks next to a body of water © Provided by Evening Standard Homes & Property

With the average London house price now £486,000, a 15 per cent deposit is a staggering £72,900. So, if you have scraped together that much to put down, it begs the question: what could you buy outright outside London? Or, if you’re dreaming big, in Europe?

Lockdown has caused many city dwellers to reassess their lifestyle priorities.

After working from home successfully, will you be returning to the office five days a week? Is it time to move out of the big house share? Does a move out of town to a home with a garden hold more appeal than it used to?

Property escapism – whiling away the hours considering online listings here and abroad – is a familiar pastime for many and, as restrictions start to ease on summer foreign travel, you may have found yourself indulging in some much-needed European dreams in recent weeks.

You’re certainly not alone.

Instagram account @cheappropertyeu is for those of us who fantasise about tackling an Escape to the Chateau-style project, or finding our very own doer-upper in the hill towns of Tuscany.

It features unusual homes for sale across Europe with one common theme — they are all priced below €100,000, or about £91,500.

A recent popular listing on the account was an entire island for sale for €76,000 (£69,500) on Gränsjön lake in central Sweden. Now sold, the island came with two cottages and a jetty.

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A post shared by Cheap Property Europe (@cheappropertyeu) on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:42am PDT

Other properties currently for sale include a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Plevin, in Brittany on the French west coast, which has been listed for €82,500 (£75,458).

That’s a six-hour drive from Calais, if you plan to form a Eurotunnel habit any time soon.

One for hardy renovators, this two-bedroom townhouse in Santa Engracia, a quiet hilltop village in north-east Spain, is calling out for some TLC.

The interiors are unlikely to worry you too much, however, as the view over the Tremp valley is breathtaking. As is the newly reduced €29,000 (£26,520) price tag.

The account and website are run by brother and sister Leo and Fiona Chan, originally from Sydney, who are based in Amsterdam and have found themselves priced out of the property market there.

“Amsterdam is phenomenal but the prices are getting scary,” says Leo who, when not trawling European property listings, works as a photographer. “For the price of the island in Gränsjön, you wouldn’t even be able to get a 25sqm studio within five kilometres of Amsterdam.”

He adds: “For a laugh we looked abroad to see how much further our money would go. We started sharing it with family and friends and decided to start an Instagram account.”

Along with the Cheap Property Europe website, the instagram account launched in May and after only a couple of months already has more than 20,500 followers.

“If we come across an amazing deal in Amsterdam, we wouldn't say no,” says Leo, who has been searching for his dream home for around a year so far. “But the more time we spend looking at unique properties in less popular locations, the more we realise that our money could go further and that's also something we try to show our followers.”

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