Such investment is usually welcomed by the foreign local community, as the injection of cash usually benefits the region. However some countries/regions have legislation which prevents foreigners owning such investment/holiday property.
Many from Northern Europe and the UK have bought property in Southern European countries, most notably Spain. Such property is predominantly used as either a dedicated retirement home or holiday rental property. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of people investing in Eastern Europe. The regions stability coupled with affordable property prices make the area an attractive proposition, especially as such investments are likely to yield big returns should the country then gain membership to the EU.
The advent of the internet has also contributed to the number of people buying abroad. Before property websites existed, the search for the perfect foreign property was expensive and exhaustive. However today a number of sites provide information and property searches, removing previous barriers to entry and offering a degree of choice before really spending any money.