HOT PROPERTY; Cyprus and the Algarve Are Not Necessarily the First Places to Spring to Mind as Holiday-Home Destinations. Think Again, Says Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN

Article excerpt

Byline: ZOE CHAMBERLAIN

Honeymooners fell in love - with Cyprus

MOST couples have fond memories of their honeymoon. But Nada and Peter Rigg, from Rugby, Warwickshire, loved theirs so much they decided to buy a house there!

They first flew out to Cyprus after their wedding in June 2002.

Fifteen months ago, with three-monthold babyAdam in tow, they took the plunge - and invested in a holiday home there.

``We absolutely fell in love with the place,'' says Nada, 33, who works as a general manager for Fitness First.

``But back then Cyprus really wasn't the place to buy.''

The Riggs got in touch with a company called Headlands International, who help to arrange property-buying overseas.

``My husband is a very cautious man,'' says Nada. ``He'll research something for six months before deciding to do it. But we were both sold on Headlands instantly. We bought an off-plan holiday home without even seeing how it might look.

``It was the wildest thing we've done.'' They paid pounds 109,000 for a three-bedroom house which has a large kitchen, lounge and dining room and is close to the village of Oroklini.

It has a shared pool and views over a park area, and is just five minutes from the sea. Peter, 39, is a director of Life Fitness and travels the world with his job. It was important that the couple found a place whereNada could feel safe and comfortable alone with Adam.

``It was only in October last year that we were able to see where our money was going,'' adds Nada. ``The property was bigger and even more beautiful than we imagined. It really put our minds at rest.

``One thing we loved about it was that we were able to choose everything we wanted ourselves, evendown to the tiles, the colour of wood for the wardrobes and the front doorknobEnamoured by their holiday home, the Riggs decided against renting it out and furnished it for their own enjoyment. Instead, they bought a second off-plan homenearby for pounds 78,000,and they plan to let it out. That property will be finished in 2006 and it's hoped the rent from that will pay for both homes.

``I was lucky to have shares in my company that had done extremely well,'' says Nada.

``It's meant that doing this hasn't had to affect our lifestyle at home.

``A lot of people think overseas investment is only for people aged 60-plus but we've found a lot of our neighbours are in their40s and 50s. Some of our friends thought it was odd to start with but now they've seen our success, they're buying overseas themselves.

``You don't have to be rich to dosomething like this. Initially wewere nervous, but now we're so glad we've done it.

``It's a nest-egg for us andwe plan to go out there six or seven times a year.

``It only costs us around pounds 140 on return flights with Cyprus Air. Whenwe retire, we like the idea of spending six months here and six months in Cyprus.

``Next week, we're taking the family to our new Cyprus home for the first time. It's really exciting

WE CAN BEIN PORTUGAL BY 10AM

NICOLAS and Julia John spent so much money on holidays in the Algarve that they decided it was time to buy their own home there. Three years ago, the couple bought a luxury five-bedroom townhouse in Luz, Western Algarve, and have never looked back.

``We'd been visiting the Algarve on holiday for the past 20 years, spending massive amounts of money to live in someone else's house,'' says Nicolas, 58, and a lawyer from North Staffordshire.

``We invariably travelled home saying that we should buy a place there, but generally forgot about it as soon as we were back into the swing of things.

``Three years ago, we decided to go to the Algarve for a week to have a look around. We arranged to meeta very helpful rep from Headlands International and spent the day viewing properties. …