Outlook is sunny for British buyers abroad

All the stars are aligned for Britons wishing to invest in property overseas thanks to a strong pound compared with the euro, weak property prices across the Channel and record low borrowing rates.

Between January and March 2015, the Overseas Guides Company received 15,209 enquiries for its guides. This was a 31pc year-on-year increase.

Unsurprisingly, perennial favourite Spain is still in top spot in the list of Britons’ favourite destinations, with France following closely behind. Portugal and Italy are also favourites.

In the first five months of this year, foreign currency specialist moneycorp saw a 37pc increase in clients sending money abroad to buy a property in Spain compared to 2014. French buying saw a rise of 23 pc.
This is confirmed by currency experts HiFX, who found that three-quarters of overseas house hunters were looking to buy in these two countries this year.

This rise in interest is driven by currency changes, according to moneycorp.

“Comparing the currency movements over the last two years, the saving created by a weakened euro and a stronger pound is clear,” said Marianne Gilmore, commercial director at moneycorp.

“In June 2013 a property on the market for €500,000 would have been purchased for £406,504, this June the same property could be purchased for £364,963. This means currency movements have created a saving of over £41,500.”
On top of this, estate agents in France are finding that buyers are typically able to knock 10pc off the asking price. For those with deep pockets, this 16th-century hunting lodge (pictured below) near St Paul de Vence with 14 bedrooms marketed by John Taylor has just been reduced in price by €2 million to €9.9 million.

If that makes your eyes water, a study by French bank BNP Paribas says Brits buying in France paid on average €315,000 (roughly £230,000) last year – a drop of 10pc on the previous year. The average price we paid for a home on the Riviera was €589,000 (£430,000).

Brits buy more properties in French than any other foreigners, spending €1.6 billion last year. We mostly buy in the Rhône Alpes, Poitou Charente and Provence which covers the ritzy Côte d’Azur.

French mortgages are cheaper than ever – BNP Paribas has a 20-year fixed-rate loan at 2.3pc. The bank has also just launched interest-only mortgages at similar rates with a minimum term of seven years.

Alternatively, you could remortgage your UK home to buy abroad. The lowest interest rates available come in at under 1pc with a two-year term.

According to François Laforie of BNP Paribas: “In 2015, we have seen a strong demand from British buyers mainly thanks to a stronger UK economic recovery, low interest rates, a weak euro and a slight decrease in property prices.”

Source: The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/11676085/Outlook-is-sunny-for-British-buyers-abroad.html

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