Sunny Spain currently accounts for more than a quarter of all the second homes owned outside the UK.

The latest Official Social Trends Report states that 27 per cent of British second overseas properties are located in Spain, with demand fuelled by cheap flights and Euro mortgages, according to Banco Halifax Hispania, Spain's division of the lender Halifax.

New airports and routes to the country mean that low-cost flights to Spain have risen by 25 per cent in 2006, according to OAG, while Spain's Ministry of Tourism has estimated that another million foreigners will buy a home in Spain by 2012.

Ian Smith, head of European operations at Halifax, said that low-cost flights to Spain could often prove cheaper than travelling to and from London by train, adding to the attraction of Spanish property as an investment.

"The low-cost airlines mean that people can have shorter, more frequent trips to Spain, travelling from places close to home," he told Easier.

"With the low cost of mortgages, many people have now realised that owning property in Spain is a real possibility."

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    Carol McDonald