If you are considering buying a dream home abroad or simply investing in a desirable location where you can rent your property or relocate for good, then you must have looked at Spain as your top destination. Well, you were not wrong, as Spain continues to top the list for places to relocate or buy a property abroad.

According to iProperty Management’s research, Spain, which is already the top destination for Brits,  was the most searched for country, with 690,360 searches, 37,600 of which were from UK internet users. Following Spain, with less than 194,000 searches was Canada.

Spain is especially popular with Brits who made up 69% of expats in 2018. According to the data, those who want to invest in a property that will see demand from expatriates looking to relocate, should consider Spain. Among the top five, France and Portugal have also been a favourite location for Brits and the two countries saw 484,800 and 212,280 searches, respectively.

The interest in these countries does not simply result from the fact they are beautiful and desirable locations for retirement or for vacation. They are members of the EU and thus residents living in each of them are allowed to move and work freely.

 Spain is cheaper than London!

If you are hoping to get onto the property ladder, Spain is a good option. There are plenty of reasons for that as the number of expats in the Costa del Sol could attest. But beautiful location, gorgeous buildings, sunny beaches and good food can simply explain why you would want to settle there.

If you are buying property, the choice of buying within a gated community such as those located in the towns of San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona, can offer security and peace. According to the Olive Press, a three bedroom apartment in Estepona  will cost around £200K, whereas the same amount could only get you a studio apartment in London, for example.

Places such as Marbella and Banus are also appealing due to the fact that they are secure and provide a great lifestyle. But also other areas on the Costa del Sol such as Casares Costa. Estepona, for example is only 20 minutes west of Marbella and is relatively cheaper than other more sought-after locations while offering a more authentic flavour of Spain. Guadalmina Ata poses a more pricey location where one can purchase beautiful properties exceeding €2 million.

For many Brits, and due to Covid-19 and Brexit, Spain appears to be the ultimate destination where they can retire and feel secure, while remaining part of the EU. Indeed, the number of Brits buying property in Spain has risen a lot recently due to Brexit.

Just looking at the data showing where Brits are registered in Spain, is indicative of the places and the kind of appeal they have for different age groups. The British community is concentrated along the coast, in Alicante and Málaga, and more than a third of residents are over 65. Madrid and Barcelona are a favourite among the younger generations who want to work and enjoy a more busy lifestyle.

Currency Exchange

If you are buying a holiday home in Spain, it is important to consult a specialist foreign exchange company such as Universal Partners FX right from the start. UPFX can help you manage currency fluctuations by locking the rate, as the final price of your home could vary significantly from the time you made your offer.

When moving large amounts of cash, it is best to get in touch with UPFX’s currency specialists where they can offer you competitive exchange rates and the best value for your money. Find out what your money is worth by giving them a call or requesting a free quote.

There are many incentives to buying property overseas, especially when you choose to buy your dream home in a place such as Portugal. From the beautiful countryside to its beach resorts and golf communities, Portugal has a lot to offer. For those investors who are looking for a good opportunity, the country’s low taxes and its strong rental market are key to seal the deal.

But how is the current property market, and how does Brexit and Covid-19 affect your buying plans?

The price of a property can be severely impacted by various factors such as the state of the economy, both in the country of residence and in the country you are buying in, as well as supply and demand. You might also want to consider that the investment you are making now will not be affected by the political climate in the specific country. 2020 has been a difficult year, as many countries, including the UK are still dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of further lockdowns, while Brexit is still looming in the near distance.  The pandemic has deeply hurt economies and has inevitably hurt property prices home and abroad, making earlier investments seem more affordable now, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  

Brexit will accelerate the process of buying a home

British buyers are trying to secure their property abroad and their right to residency by buying before the Brexit deadline. Estate agents predict that the autumn will be a busy time for buyers dominated by higher property prices until the end of December, indicating that it is perhaps better to start your research now and ensure you do not pay more for a house you could have got much cheaper earlier.

Portugal, for example, has taken steps to attract British buyers, especially retirees by offering attractive tax schemes. Portugal is ranked the best country in the world for expatriates.

NHR Tax Status

In 2009, the Portuguese government introduced the Non-Habitual Tax Resident status (NHR) to attract high value residents, and it offered reduced tax rates and some exemptions for the first ten years in the country. Until recently, NHR allowed most foreign pension income to be tax-free. However, the 2020 Portuguese Budget introduced new changes to the NHR approved by the Portuguese Parliament on Thursday 6th February 2020. According to it, there will be a 10% tax on the foreign revenue of British pensioners and other foreigners who move to Portugal, with those living there before 2020 not being affected. If you already have NHR status or applied for Portuguese residence before 1 April 2020, when the new regime came into effect, you can still be eligible for exemptions on your UK pension income for the remainder of your ten-year NHR period.

No matter what, the tax is much lower than that charged in other countries such as the UK and significantly lower than the Portuguese income tax rates of 14.5% to 48%. It is still considered very attractive to foreigners.

The proposed changes come to address specific tax regimes and visa schemes that offer EU residency rights in return for property purchases. Retired Portuguese nationals and residents outside the NHR regime cannot access such tax breaks, there has also been pressure for change from within Portugal itself.

Whether low taxes or the Portuguese lifestyle itself seem appealing to you, real estate agents argue that now is the right time to buy and transfer your money abroad to complete your property purchase. They see that confidence will soon return to the market by the autumn of 2021 and that the first few months of the year will present an even bigger opportunity to buy.

If you are a British buyer, and want to secure a strong investment opportunity, now is the time to get in touch with your currency broker. A currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can help you navigate the current market while taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and your budget.

When considering buying your dream home in Portugal, Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind when sending money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Plans for buying property may have been postponed for a while due to the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions, but as these begin to ease, Brits’ interest in foreign property has been reignited. Now cities in such European countries as Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece are sought after, as Brits’ love for warm climes and sandy beaches has been rekindled.

Costa del Sol in Andalusia, southern Spain, has always been one of the most sought-after locations for Brits and will continue to remain one of the most desirable places for property investment.  While the real estate market has suffered considerably during the coronavirus crisis, since 18th May when viewings have been permitted again, there has been an increase in requests, boosting confidence that the real estate market will undergo a quick recovery.

Costa del Sol

Famous for its beautiful beaches, art and culture, amusement and national parks, the birthplace of Picasso has always been among Brits’ favourite places, both for their holidays, but also for living and buying property.

Its beauty and popularity have not faded due to the pandemic. Instead, luxury villas and high-end developments in hot spots have retained their value. Other areas might become even more overpriced, while other less sought-after locations might have more realistic prices. According to Olive Press, “when it comes to new developments along the Costa del Sol, again, this wonderfully touristy area ensures a healthy outlook. The construction industry is seeking help to ease it through these difficult times, with calls to rethink new construction tax and bureaucratic processes.”

What to consider

  • Prices and Currency Volatility: The cost of a European property in Sterling can change drastically due to currency volatility as a result of political, economic or other events such as the current pandemic. Markets will always be moving, and prices will remain unpredictable, especially with Brexit uncertainty, the Bank of England’s possible move into negative interest rate territory and the increasing worries about the slow economic recovery.
  • Brexit: This is another topic that is likely to concern home buyers as there might be significant changes in regulations including the stamp duty and increased taxation. Despite the uncertainty, UK citizens will be able to buy homes abroad and live there. You will be able to stay, if you are legally resident in Spain before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, but you will need to register as a Spanish resident if you want to stay in Spain for more than 3 months. If you are living in Spain before 1 January 2021 and register as a resident after 6 July 2020, you will be issued with a biometric residence card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero). If you move to Spain after 31 December 2020, there will be different immigration requirements.
  • Your strategy when transferring funds: Since you will be transferring a large amount of funds, you will need to consider how much that will worth after the exchange. Getting in touch with a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can help you navigate the current market while taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and your budget.

If you are considering buying your dream home in Spain, get in touch with Universal Partners FX so you can have peace of mind when sending a large amount of money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Buying property  in Greece after Covid-19 is on the rise as the Greek government is looking to make purchasing a home in the country easier and cheaper through a range of attractive measures.

If you are dreaming for a cheap retirement in warmer climates, then the new initiative by the Greek government might be just enough to persuade you to buy property in Greece.

Like many other countries struggling with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Greece wants to revitalise the economy by incentivising foreign buyers to purchase their dream home in the land of the Myrmidons and other legends. One of the ways the government is trying to appeal to home buyers is by raising the tax-free ceiling on the supplementary tax included in the property tax surcharge known as ENFIA imposed during the bailout years. According to the Greek newspaper The National Herald, “the ceiling is 250,000 euros ($294,823.35) and may be increased to as much as 350,000 euros ($412,752.55) and the supplementary tax will be abolished once ENFIA comes under the jurisdiction of municipal authorities as of 2022. Earlier the government said it would offer European pensioners a flat tax of 7 percent no matter their income – it's 28 to 44 percent for Greeks – if the foreigners moved their tax base to Greece as a condition.” The condition for pensioners is that they “cannot have been a tax resident of Greece in the previous five years before the relocation and must be relocating from a country that has a dual taxation agreement with Greece.”

Greece’s Tax Incentives

Brits usually go to Spain, so why not Greece? Greece is making an attempt to attract British and other Europeans to relocate in the warm Mediterranean country and birthplace of Democracy. Known for the Parthenon at the Acropolis, its beautiful sun kissed islands and the romantic sunsets at Sounio, Greece is now appealing to pensioners through tax incentives. While many countries want to attract a younger generation, the Greek government is interested in luring Europe’s retirees. “The logic is very simple: we want pensioners to relocate here,” says Athina Kalyva, head of tax policy at the Greek finance ministry. “We have a beautiful country, a very good climate, so why not?” Kalyva said that the government initiative is centred on passing this new flat income tax rate of 7% for foreign retirees who will transfer their tax residence to Greece in the next 10 years. She explained: “We hope that pensioners benefiting from this attractive rate will spend most of their time in Greece. That would mean investing a bit – renting or buying a home.”

Greece wants to apply the flat rate not only to pensions but to other sources of revenue too. The chief economic adviser of the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Alex Patelis, said that “the 7% flat rate will apply to whatever income a person might have, be that rents or dividends as well as pensions. As a reformist government, we have to basically try to tick all the boxes in order to boost the economy and change growth models in Greece.”

After successfully dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Greece wants to boost the brand name Greece, Patelis said. “Once the pandemic subsides, we believe capital and labour will move to places that did relatively better.”

As economics professor Platon Tinios noted, “it’s a good idea if pensioners have easy access to a decent health system and good links to airports, so they can go and see their grandchildren. And golf courses, too.”

If you are considering buying your dream home in Greece, you should contact a foreign exchange specialist to assist you with transferring your money abroad, explain currency exchange, and hedge your funds from unpredictable currency movements. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX so you can have peace of mind when sending a large amount of money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Buying property  in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece is back in demand, with property site Rightmove reporting 1million searches in one day.

As travel restrictions ease, interest in buying property overseas has reignited with the number of Brits searching for a place in the sun rising. The top five property locations for Brits are Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece, according to search data from Rightmove last month.  

Rightmove sees a surge in interest in European destinations

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said: “Lockdown has allowed many people time to re-appraise their lives, which has prompted lots of home-hunters to get serious about buying elsewhere in Europe. In particular, countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal have cultures that are familiar to us, and their warmer climates and reasonably priced rural stock will appeal to those who have been recently denied foreign travel.”

He added: “Social distancing would be far more straightforward if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford your own overseas pad. If other holiday-makers feel the same, then they may wish to rent your property, helping it bring in an income when you are not there. It’s still early days as we’re not out of lockdown yet and most airlines are still shut, but this is an indication that this has been a life-changing period for many who are re-appraising both how and where they want to live.”

According to Rightmove, enquiries to estate agents overseas reached the highest level since last June, with the number of new users on “Rightmove Overseas” being 41 per cent higher than the same month last year. Rachel Beaton, an overseas property expert at Rightmove, said that with the easing of the travel restrictions the demand for overseas homes rose to “record-breaking levels.”

Particularly, searches for property in Spain increased by a quarter compared to last June, with many estate agents reporting a surge in online browsing and enquiries for overseas homes in the month of June.

Estate agents at Savills told financial website This is Money that “its most viewed home online in Spain over the last month was a remote five-bedroom £572,475 home in Andalucía, complete with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, 10 hectares of land, a large swimming pool and an olive tree lined driveway.”

Spanish digital platform allows Brits to apply for a mortgage online

With interest in Spanish property rising, Spanish retail bank, CaixaBank, is providing its online platform HolaBank for Western European citizens considering buying a property to apply for a mortgage. The new digital platform comes after the release of digital mortgage application MortgageNow, another service which allows potential international buyers of Spanish property to apply for a mortgage from their country. Clients eligible to use the MortgageNow are European residents with an interest in purchasing a property in Spain.

 

In 2019, the Spanish Land Registry reported more than 62,000 property purchase agreements, particularly focussing on the Mediterranean coast, a number that represents 12.5% of the national total.

If you are considering buying your dream home, you should contact a foreign exchange specialist to assist you with transferring your money abroad, explain currency exchange, and hedge your funds from unpredictable currency movements. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX so you can have peace of mind when sending a large amount of money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Brits buying property abroad and looking to experience that unique Mediterranean atmosphere, sun-kissed beaches, and European heritage have often turned their gaze towards the majestic Portugal. A great alternative to Europe’s overpopulated cities, Portugal has been the choice for many expats looking for their second home abroad.

However, with recent reports suggesting that Portugal will not be on the initial list of air bridges from UK, there has been a clamour from many tour operators and holiday makers alike to ensure that this is not the case come tomorrow when the list is announced. These demands may fall on deaf ears, but it highlights how Portugal is a real favourite amongst Brits as a holiday destination. This is for many reasons, first and foremost, Portugal is England's oldest ally since 1147 when English crusaders helped King Alfonso I capture Lisbon from the Muslims.

Famous for its national drink, port, beaches and dramatic scenery, Portugal is also an affordable destination, and the second best in value after Bulgaria. Younger generations have heard of the Livraria Porto bookstore in the Portuguese municipality of Porto, which has inspired the Hogwarts Library in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, while older ones are enthralled by its rich history, being one of the oldest states in Europe.

Portugal combines contemporary lifestyle with antiquated charm, and despite the recent financial crisis, the country has managed to recover, offering expats attractive tax and residency incentives and low mortgage rates.

Buying property in some of Portugal’s most popular locations

Whether you’re looking for a holiday home, your dream property to retire to or an investment, Portugal offers a variety of properties at different locations and prices. From Algarve’s beaches and golf courses, to Lisbon’s hip neighbourhoods and Porto’s famous wineries, Brits have many choices depending on the kind of lifestyle they want to experience and their budget.

Algarve’s property developments in such resort towns as Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago are sought after and expensive. A two-bedroom apartment can be up to €360,000 while a three-bedroom villa can worth around a million. Prices might be the same in Western Algarve, but, there, life is quieter as in the fishing town of Lagos where property prices range from €200,000 to €5 million. In the booming area of Eastern Algarve, properties can be cheaper, and you can find some attractive opportunities in the town of Tavira where country villas can be around €450,000.

Lisbon’s Blue coast, Costa Azul, is one of the most peaceful areas with such fishing villages as Sesimbra and Sines, most famous for its cuisine and seafood restaurants. Here, you can find five-bedroom villas ranging from €1-3 million or a three-bedroom house for €200,000.

Townhouses and apartments in developments can be a cheaper alternative, with the latter offering communal facilities such as pools and gardens with shared maintenance costs.

Financing your dream home in Portugal

If you are not transferring funds or re-mortgaging your UK home, you will need to consider your borrowing options, such as taking a Portuguese mortgage against a property. The larger amount of cash you deposit the easier it will be to secure a loan at a reasonable interest rate. You will need to also have in mind currency fluctuation as you will be better borrowing in the same currency you will be repaying the loan.

Currency Exchange

This is why, it is important to consult a specialist foreign exchange company such as Universal Partners FX right from the start. UPFX can help you manage currency fluctuations by fixing the rate, as the final price of your home could vary significantly from the time you made your offer.

When moving large amounts of cash, it is best to get in touch with UPFX’s currency specialists where they can offer you competitive exchange rates and the best value for your money. Find out what your money is worth by giving them a call or requesting a free quote.

With the pound falling against the Swiss franc in the five years to the end of October, and after a period of decline, the Swiss housing market has seen a rise in prices. Particularly, major cities such as Geneva are now more expensive than other European cities. With some of the priciest homes located along Lake Geneva’s south bank in Cologny and Collonge-Bellerive overseeing the lake and magnificent gardens, it is not hard to see why such properties could fetch high amounts.

For many expats, renting a property is more affordable, and 60 percent of residents rent their properties. However, if you can afford to buy a property in Switzerland, certain rules and regulations might change due to Brexit. While there won’t be any changes if you have already bought your home before Brexit, after Brexit, you will be considered a “person abroad” and you will be subject to the restrictions of Lex Koller.

Here, we will have a quick look at the Swiss property market and then the rules regarding buying property.

The Swiss market

Before 2017, house prices increased by 80.5 percent, forcing the Swiss National Bank to adopt stricter lending criteria and abandon its cap against the euro in order to limit investor demand. In 2017, purchase prices fell by 0.75 percent, while in the second half of 2017, according to Swiss National Bank data, the average asking price per square metre was CHF 11,800 (€10,100) in Zurich, CHF 11,530 (€9,865) in Geneva, and CHF 9,260 (€7,920) in Lausanne.

According to the Financial Times, prices have now risen again due to falling mortgage rates and a shortage of supply, while “imminent corporate tax reforms” are particularly increasing Geneva’s appeal. Alex Koch de Gooreynd, who specialises in the Swiss, Austrian and Portuguese market at Knight Frank, explains that demand from overseas buyers was reduced due to the strong franc, the fall in the pound and euro. An average €23,400 per sq m prime property is, for example, higher than its equivalent of €19,400 in Paris and €13,500 in Frankfurt.

In Collonge-Bellerive, a four-bedroom villa can go for CHF 4.3m (£3.38m) and in Anières a four-bedroom house can go for CHF 3.29m (£2.58m). In Chêne-Bougeries a two-bedroom duplex is CHF 1.595m (£1,25m). With 169 sales this year for properties over €3.6m (£3m), it is obvious that only millionaires can afford a three-bedroom apartment or a four and five-bedroom house.

But, if you cannot afford to buy, renting is a an alternative, with a two-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva priced at CHF 2,200 (€1,997) per month.  

Purchasing property

Brits’ residence rights have been secured by the Agreement on Acquired Citizens’ Rights (AACR) signed by Switzerland and the UK on 25 February 2019 (new FMOPA). Among other things, the agreement also covers the purchase of real estate by UK citizens in Switzerland and vice versa. The new FMOPA agreement will come into force after the end of the transition period agreed between the EU and the UK. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the AACR shall apply immediately after the UK leaves the EU.

Lex Koller

Lex Koller is the law which limits ownership by foreigners and distinguishes between Swiss residents and non-Swiss residents. The law allocates 1500 permits for non-Swiss residents annually to buy holiday homes not exceeding 200m2 in tourist locations and mountain resorts. However, even those non-EU/EFTA citizens who have a Swiss residency permit are covered by Lex Koller’s restrictions as it applies to their main residence.

According to Lex Koller, “persons abroad” are classified all citizens from the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) who have no legal or actual Swiss residence and citizens of other states with no permanent Swiss residence permit. They are subject to restrictions and, in some cases, may need to acquire Swiss residential property.

Currently, since the UK is still part of the EU, UK citizens are not classified as persons abroad if they have a legal or actual Swiss residence. After Brexit, UK citizens with a legal or actual Swiss residence will need to acquire a permanent Swiss residence permit. However, some of these may not apply with the new FMOPA, as UK citizens will be able to safeguard the rights acquired under the FMOPA.

So, if they already purchased property, this will be respected after Brexit. If at the time of Brexit, UK citizens have already a legal or actual Swiss residence in order to buy Swiss residential property, they won’t require a permanent resident permit.

UK citizens will be able to retain their status as cross-border commuters in Switzerland after Brexit if they purchase Swiss residential property, as a secondary home.

However, after Brexit all those who have no prior Swiss residential property, or legal or actual Swiss residence, and do not qualify as cross-border commuters will be subject to the restrictions of Lex Koller.

Not only does Switzerland have strict rules about purchasing property, but also the process of purchasing a home can be lengthy, lasting more than three months. When you finally decide on your property, keep in mind that you will also need to pay 5% of the purchase price for the notary’s fees (0.2-1 percent) and charges, including a 3 percent property transfer tax and around 1-1.5 percent for registering the deed with the land registry office.

This is why it will be good to plan ahead and get in touch with an expert foreign exchange firm such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s specialist currency brokers will make sure that your money is safe by providing you with a range of hedging strategies against the volatility of the currency market.

Overseas Property Investment

For some, overseas property investment provides some hard-to-turn-down benefits such as greater claims to capital growth and increased rental yields than buy-to-let property in the UK. Making it a very lucrative opportunity, as well as providing investors with the added advantage of having their very own holiday home that they can visit. If the right decisions are made at the right times, overseas property investment can offer huge financial rewards.

But, before you can pursue your goals of owning a property abroad, there are several things that you will need to bear in mind, such as taxes surrounding property ownership, foreign laws, rent charges and more. So, let’s take a look a some of these things in more detail.

Location, location, location

For newcomers to the property investment game, the location of where their investment will be made is often the first thing to think about. To make your investment a successful one, you’re going to have to think long-term. Many experts will reiterate the fact that certain locations have the reputation of being property hotspots, where if timed properly, you will be able to snatch a bargain when prices have fallen. However, it is advised to invest your money in more established markets that offer longer-term benefits and sustained returns.

General overseas property investment considerations

When looking for the perfect property to invest in, there are a number of things that you will definitely need to think about. These include if your property will be used as a holiday home. If it will be rented out. If the cost of living will change over time and if certain foreign ownership laws will be involved.

If you’re choosing to rent your property out as a holiday home, you’ll need to ensure the property is easily accessible with good local amenities and is located in a popular area with local tourists. Be sure to take holiday seasons into account as many tourist destinations shut down and become quieter during ‘out of season’ months.

Be sure to look into properties of a similar nature in the surrounding area to get an idea and taste of what the general rate in the market is. Despite global property price trends occurring, it is important to know how property markets in specific locations are performing and they themselves can go through peaks and troughs. Take time to learn how many weeks per year similar properties are occupied, to give you an idea of what to expect if and when you decide to proceed with your overseas property investment.

Mortgages

It can be difficult to find the right financing option when buying an overseas property, especially since some countries might not offer financing options at all. In some parts of the world, banks cannot accept a foreign asset as a security loan, so you may not be able to get a standard mortgage from your domestic bank the way you would for a local property purchase. Other international regulations may prohibit banks from even initiating the process with a client regarding a mortgage if the client is based in another country. So, what’s the best way to get a mortgage for your overseas property investment?

Whilst traditional bank financing might not be an option for overseas assets like it is for domestic property purchases, developer financing may be available when there aren’t any other options. Other payment methods may be available such as using retirement funds or pulling equity from your primary residence in your home country. You may also qualify for personal or business loans that you can use to pay for your overseas property down payment. A number of UK banks offer mortgages for international borrowers if you are able to maintain a minimum bank balance at a designated threshold.

Taxes

The amount of tax that you will be required to pay on your overseas property investment needs to be factored into your decision-making process. Some countries impose property taxes, others do not. Some countries may also levy taxes if you leave your property vacant for a certain amount of time in the year. If planning to rent, you may be required to declare that rental income to your home country and the country where your property is located. Unless there are double taxation agreements in place, you could find some issues with tax in two separate countries. When preparing to sell your property, you’ll need to be aware of both domestic and foreign taxes on capital gains. Foreign taxes are complicated and consequences can be steep for failing to declare assets that wouldn’t otherwise be taxed.

Maintenance

When buying an overseas property to make a profit, there is no need to relocate permanently. Meaning your property may well be empty for a significant amount of time. As a result, you will need to think about maintenance and security. One of the best ways to do this is to employ a local property management firm that can make regular visits to check on the premises and conduct the relevant duties to keep the property in a good condition. Despite this requiring some additional investment, it can help to save huge amounts of money and safeguard your assets.

Overseas property investment resources

A vital part of investing successfully and safely in overseas property is finding and taking appropriate advice from the right people. An overseas property management firm is a great start but ultimately is just one cog in the machine. To ensure you get the most out of your investment, you’ll need to tap into a variety of different areas, gathering the expertise from various professionals. Such as:

  • Financial planning & tax advisor
  • Independent legal advisor
  • International accountant
  • Currency transfer specialist

By securing the services of these different resources, you will be able to identify and prevent potential money-losing situations during your overseas property investment journey, especially when it comes to sending money overseas. Universal Partners FX can help you get more for your money when the time comes for you to transfer funds abroad with our bank-beating exchange rates, zero transactions fees and 24/7 expert support.  

Our simple-to-use online platform allows you to send your funds swiftly to a chosen recipient in a secure manner. Whether it’s a one-off or a regular payment, we can you to save money by avoiding high street bank transaction fees and poor exchange rates. Simply sign up for a personal or business account with us today to get started on your overseas property investment. Click below to learn more about how our foreign exchange services can help when buying a property overseas.Buying a Property Overseas >

 

Despite Brexit, it is not difficult to see how appealing it will be to buy property in Monaco, especially when you are a millionaire. For example, pro-Brexit Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe decided last year to move to Monaco to avoid UK taxes on his £21bn fortune. With almost 35 in every 100 residents of Monaco being millionaires, British expats can feel part of the elite.

A staunch Brexiter, Ratcliffe offered support for the Leave campaign, but has repeatedly criticised investing in the UK when taxes were high but embraced his British roots when his business benefited from corporation tax cuts.

Ratcliffe sees himself as “a lover of Britain” but when it comes to business, “choice must be about head as well as heart.”

If you feel the same, and are choosing to buy property in Monaco consciously, then you can join some of the wealthiest people. UHNWIs (Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals) flock to Monaco for low taxes, but also for the quality of life.

In 2016, the Telegraph reported that Monaco had started a €2 billion (£1.8 billion) operation to reclaim land from the sea in order to build more luxury housing for the world's wealthiest residents. According to research by the estate agent Knight Frank, about 2,700 more millionaires are expected to move in Monaco by 2026, increasing the number of millionaires to 16,100 out of a total population of 38,400.

Monaco’s housing market

With its soft climate and location on Cote d’Azur, its glamorous lifestyle, and the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, Monaco offers luxury with a high price tag; it is simply, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. So, if you are searching for affordable accommodation, to either rent or buy, Monaco is not for you.

However, anyone can buy property, as long as they can afford to spend €36,000 per square meter for an apartment. If you are looking for newly built houses, then we are talking about between 4 to 10 million and prices can increase depending on the kind of property and its location.

If you do buy real estate, you can browse listing sites and get in touch with agents. When it comes to the actual transaction, you will need to pay a notary to execute and authenticate it. If you go with a real estate agent, you will need to pay fees of around 3% (plus VAT) of the purchase price. You will also need to pay registration fees at 4.5% of the property’s market value.

The market is healthy, and the trend of building apartments is on the rise. According to Knight Frank, 50 new apartments were sold in 2017 at prices below €5m, with properties above €5m accounting for 23% of sales. In 2017, properties were around at €53,000 per sq m., while more premium properties can exceed €100,000 per sq m.

Buying property

Before signing any agreements, you should get a notary’s opinion no matter if you’re buying or selling.

Once you decided on the property, you can express your interest with an offer letter, outlining the details of the property, price and the time of transaction. The notary would prepare the purchase contract and the sale would be completed at the notary’s office with the payment, including the notary’s fees, transfer taxes and other related costs. If you are an individual, you will need to pay 6% in property registration tax, title registration and notary fees. Otherwise, if the property is purchased by foreign companies, they will pay 9%. The notary will transfer the funds and register the new owner at the registry of deeds. Owners of newly built properties or those who will build their own properties, must pay 20% VAT.

Universal Partners FX

If you are moving ahead with buying property in Monaco, you will need to discuss your currency transfers with a foreign exchange specialist such as Universal Partners FX. With years of experience in transferring funds internationally and a great team of currency brokers making sure that your funds are transferred safely and efficiently in your overseas account, UPFX are the ideal partners for your currency needs. Get in touch with them today, to find out how they can help you get access to the best exchange rates in the market.

 

Moving to Italy and buying property might be a dream for many, but what happens when Brexit is looming on the horizon and your EU status is suddenly questioned?

Brits can buy a property in Italy, despite being from the EU or not, so Brexit won’t have a big impact on your decision to buy property there. However, as with other European countries where Brits are relocating or buying a property as residents, you will have to register as a resident in Italy, check whether your passport is valid for travelling, exchange your UK driving licence for an Italian one, as well as register for healthcare. So, buying property in Italy means also deciding about your residency as you must register as an Italian resident if you are considering staying there for more than three months. 

Residency

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights of all UK nationals living or working in Italy legally will be recognised by the Italian government. However, if there is no deal, UK nationals living in Italy will have to get a non-residence permit by 31 December 2020 to protect their rights to work, healthcare and social benefits.

When it comes to buying a property after Brexit, being a non-resident and non-EU national, will mean that you will have to use the house as your holiday home, while only being allowed to stay there a maximum of 180 days per year, but only 90 days at a time. If you buy the property as a resident, then you will have to live there for over half the year and state that the property is your main residence. This will lower the amount of money you have to spend on purchase and local taxes.

Buying a property

Buying a property in Italy is usually performed by a notary who is a qualified lawyer to conduct the transfer of the property between the seller and yourself. The notary will prepare the deeds, check for outstanding charges, and make sure that the property meets required standards. They will also make sure there is a translator present when you sign the legal contracts. The translator might cost you a couple of hundred euros.

As a buyer, you will pay the purchase taxes and the notary’s fees. The notary will be paid approximately 1-2 percent, depending on the price of the property.

Buying property as a resident or non-resident, as well as from a private individual or a company are factors that will affect the kind of taxes you will have to pay for your property. Buying from a private individual will involve paying the cadastral fee which is defined by the property’s size and location. Additionally, if you’re buying as a non-resident, you will have to pay taxes on the cadastral value, as well as smaller taxes. While buying a house as a resident will involve lower taxes and obtaining a residency permit within the next 18 months, only do so if you intend to become a resident, otherwise, you will still have to pay the relevant taxes plus a penalty of 30%.

For a property bought from a company, you will pay a similar cadastral value on the property as buying it from an individual, especially if you’re buying as a non-resident, but buying as a resident the taxes will be much lower. A more favourable situation arises when you buy a winery or a country property which will demand you to pay much lower taxes (just 1 percent on the purchase price in tax). If you are buying an Italian company for commercial use, then you only pay a few fixed fees and no taxes.

Can I buy a property in Italy immediately?

While the time depends on the individual case, you can usually finalise a sale within approximately 10 weeks, as there is paperwork to be completed, registrations to be updated and other related issues that might arise. If you arrange power of attorney, this might take longer, but if you are present yourself and the property is ready to go with all the relevant papers in place, then you are all settled, and the process can be quick.

In case, however, you don’t have the relevant funds in place, but you have fallen in love with a property, then it is possible to sign a purchase agreement in order to reserve it for maximum a month until you can sign the preliminary contract.  Paying a deposit of around €2,000 – €10,000 will protect you against any legal issues, but you will be unable to get it refunded if you no longer wish to buy the property.

Buying a property in Italy with a limited budget is also a possibility, as there are village houses or unrestored old properties that are much cheaper than modern buildings or properties in expensive areas such as Tuscany.

 

Foreign exchange specialists: Universal Partners FX

Whether you are on a limited budget or you can afford a luxury villa, you are still concerned about the value of your funds when you exchange them into foreign currency. In terms of currency volatility, things in Britain haven’t really changed. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit is extremely possible as the latest updates show.

With the Internal Market Bill fiasco and a continued stand-off over fishing rights, a no-deal may be the most likely outcome. Any news that comes out between now and the end of the transition period will certainly affect the euro rates one way or another. For example, if the Internal Market Bill is upheld, this will likely lead to legal action being taken by EU and further jeopardising a deal. Ongoing Covid-19 impacts will also affect the economy and the pound, but eyes will be on the EU as they consider more stimulus packages that will further increase debt and impact the euro.

One thing is for sure, it is hard work keeping track of rates so it is important to protect your funds by getting assistance from a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX can offer you the best possible exchange rates and can even fix exchange rates in advance to avoid market movements costing you money. Contact us today to find out how much money you can save on your international money transfers.