You might have organised buying your home overseas a long time ago, but when it comes to Brexit there are a few things to consider before moving overseas. The requirements for living in France after Brexit have not been set in stone yet, with the latest updates referring to minimum resources. There is also some confusion regarding British expats’ French residency rights, healthcare and work in France after Brexit. In this article we hope to shed some light on some of these and to help guide you through the issues that most Brits are concerned with.

Minimum Resources Requirement

Many Brits are concerned about the number of resources they need to have to qualify for French residency after Brexit, especially for those who have limited income or are pensioners, which can be quite stressful.

The French government has recently published an Arrêté in the Journal Officiel, which clarifies what criteria officials need to consider when making their decisions. Such decisions will be based on individual cases, as the authorities will need to look at an individual’s specific situation, whether they own their home, paying mortgage or rent, or they have extra savings or rental income in the UK.

The French government will consider reasonable income anything that is in line with the French in-work benefit, the so-called Revenue de Solidarité Active (RSA) which is currently at €564.78 per month. For British couples for example, it will be fine if they both declare the aforementioned amount as their household income, without needing to receive €564.78 each. Regardless of how many people are residing in a specific household, the amount required will be the same as the minimum amount of the RSA for a single person without children. The same amount will also be the guideline figure for other applications such as those regarding the French benefit level for pensioners.

French Residency: Providing proof of your income

Not everyone has to provide proof of their financial situation when applying for residency. If you have lived in France for more than five years, you will only need to provide personal identity confirmation documents, proof of address documents and evidence of the date you arrived in France.

If you have been living in France for longer than 5 years or you are married to a French citizen, you will still need to apply for a residency card before 30th June 2021. If you lived less than 5 years in France, you would need to apply as either employed or self-employed, job-seeker, student, retired or as the family member of someone who meets the above criteria or the spouse, civil partner or live-in partner of a French person. If you are retired or financially inactive, then you will have to provide evidence of how you support yourself including recent tax declaration, any pension payments or recent bank statements. A French government website in both English and French provides more information about moving to or living in France.

Transferring Funds: Currency Exchange

If you are a British home buyer, 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. UPFX offers excellent exchange rates and has a record in providing tailored and dedicated customer care to thousands of customers worldwide.

When considering buying your dream home in France, 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.

 

If you are buying your dream home with a mortgage from a Spanish bank, you should be prepared as the process will take some time and banks will be extremely strict with having all documentation in place. Preparing early and having your mortgage in place, will make the process much easier and give you peace of mind.

Buying property

The bank in Spain will typically request that you submit specific documents with your application, although a dedicated person from the bank’s customer relations will help you throughout with your documents and make all the necessary arrangements.  It is usually expected that you will provide a copy of your passport, proof of address documentation such as a utility bill, an NIE certificate, if you are employed, they will need at least 2 of your last wage slips, your annual tax statement, and 2 annual tax returns, last 2 years annual accounts, an accountant’s or employer reference, credit report, last 3-6 months bank statements, mortgage or rental agreement relating to the main residence. Whatever they require, they will first assess it and then they might respond with potential questions. After this, they will offer you a provisional approval on the condition that your property is valued, and it corresponds to the amount you are asking. The valuation takes a week. The bank branch submits your application to their risk department for a final approval which will be provided in writing.

Building a house

A similar process is followed if you are building  a house, as the value of your land and projected costs for a house will be assessed and cross-checked by a professional surveyor who will visit the location and provide their valuation to the bank.  By this time, you will need to have had architectural plans approved by the building authority and have a general estimate of your overall costs, so you present the bank with a clear and realistic number. If you do not manage to do so, this will create delays and more paperwork, so it is good to have a clear communication with your bank from the start and understand what is needed. Whether you are signing your contract with the bank or an independent third party will evaluate your property, you will be required to cover the costs. This will also include any fees for lawyers, especially if you do not speak the language, as the bank will arrange for a lawyer to be present to translate any papers you need to sign.

Total costs

The total costs of buying a property with a mortgage could be around 3%, as you will have to pay an arrangement fee (1% of loan as standard), valuation fee (approx. €500.00) and mortgage stamp duty (around 1.1%).

The interest rates in Spanish banks are attractive and relatively low, with an average rate around 2.75%. It is important to consider that banks now might offer a loan that covers only 60% (non- residents) to 80% (residents) of the purchase price or of the appraised value of the property (the lowest value prevails).

When buying a finca or rural property the maximum mortgage will be 60%. The rest you will have to finance yourself with your own resources, whether that means you need to increase your mortgage in your home country or with personal savings.

Spanish banks also take into account your family situation, whether you rent your home or have your own property, number and age of children, type of work, income, etc.

When applying for a mortgage in Spain, banks will look at the relation between your income and debt to assess your situation and decide how much you are able to pay per month. For example, the bank will consider around DTI of 30-35% (up to 40%) and for non-residents, the accepted DTI will be 25-35%.

If you are a British buyer, 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 Spain, 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.

 

Buying your home in Spain is a dream come true, but there are many important things to consider when it comes to buying and transferring funds from the UK to Spain. Since buying a property involves taking into account the actual price of the home as well as any related costs such as paying taxes and fees, which can be as high as 8 and 15%, it is vital that you consider your finances, minimise your expenses and have a solid plan with a forex broker.

Costs to consider

It is important to work out your budget for buying your property, taking into account all of the related costs. One of the first things to consider is the property transfer tax which is around 10% of the purchase price and every region in Spain sets its own one. For example, in Andalucía, a property that costs up to €400,000 will have a property transfer tax of 8%, whereas over that and up to €700,000, you will have to pay 9% or 10% if the property costs over €700,001. But this is not all. When you buy a home or a plot of land, you have to register with the land registry, so you get your deeds. The fee for this can be €500.00 for a property of €100,000.

When you are signing your contracts and buying property this is conducted in the presence of a notary who will also charge a fee to verify the documents and the act taking place. Again, the notary fees depend on the price of a house, so for a €100,000 property, you will need to pay €800.00 for fees.

When you are buying, you will also need a solicitor to represent you and whose fees will be around 1% of the purchase price. Also, you will have to pay the commission of the estate agent, if there is one, and it is usually included in the property price.

How to Save Money

As always, getting some extra help from experts could relieve some stress and save you money. A very useful thing to do is contact an estate agent who knows the area you want to buy in well and who can give you more insight, help you understand market prices and explain the process of negotiating a price further. They might save you a lot of money by explaining the right price for a specific purchase and help you have the upper hand in the negotiations by providing valuable background on the purchase.

Additionally, someone who speaks the language and who can explain the process, such as a lawyer who can act on your behalf and elucidate complex legal issues, is a great asset. They will be able to point out things to watch and avoid such as illegal property building or planning which might cost you money to resolve later.

Paying with cash is always a great advantage as you can pay less and is something to consider if you are willing to do so.

A useful point to consider is paying for a survey of the property to make sure there aren’t any underlying problems and ensure that the structure of the house is solid, otherwise, if there are issues you can negotiate a lower price or save yourself the trouble and money.

Use a currency specialist

Transferring sterling to euro can cost you bank fees. To avoid unnecessary expenses, it is wise to use a currency transfer specialist such as UPFX that they can transfer funds for your purchase. Not only will they offer you competitive exchange rates, but they will make sure that your funds are protected from currency fluctuation.

When you are buying, it is good to consider buying offseason, negotiate the price and get a special deal and be open to change your requirements and find something that is much cheaper. You might be surprised at the opportunities you might find when taking a step back and looking at locations or properties you may have not considered before.

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 Spain, 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.

 

Buying your home in France might mean taking up a euro mortgage if you do not have the savings to finance your dream. If you do require a loan, you should start early so you know you have the finance and can plan with confidence your expenses whether that is for the kind of property you can afford or other related costs. Starting early, means you can research and find a mortgage with a more favourable borrowing rate, rather than planning it late and compromising with something less ideal. Especially, when it comes to purchasing a property abroad, having your finances in place means that you will be a more appealing candidate to those searching to sell their house rather than if you were still looking for a mortgage.

Mortgages

Buying in France is considered a good investment due to the country’s healthy economy. If you are borrowing from a French institution, bear in mind that you will be allowed to borrow one-third of your total gross monthly income. If you do not have a stable monthly income, it will be very difficult to secure a loan, as salaried employees and especially those working for the same employer the last three years are preferred.

For a French mortgage, you can get variable or fixed rates from 1.50%-2.50% and deposit 15% to 25% of the property’s purchase price. The maximum for a repayment loan is 85% with 25 years maximum term, or 75% maximum for an interest-only mortgage and 15 years maximum term. Interest only requires the client to have a lot of assets and is more difficult to obtain. The minimum for a loan is usually around €150,000.

Fixed- or variable-rate?

While a fixed-rate mortgage might offer the security of standard and consistent payments, it is usually more expensive than a variable one whose rate fluctuates depending on the movement of interest rates. This means it can be to your benefit or go against you, making for example a monthly payment of €400 increase to as high as €600, even though this is rarer. In France, most mortgages are fixed-rate ones.

Life Insurance

Apart from getting a building insurance, which your bank might also arrange, you will also need life insurance, again also a product that can be offered by your bank. This depends of course on the lender and the value of the mortgage. Life insurance will guarantee that you can repay the loan and in some cases you might be asked to provide further documents such as a general medical examination certificate or blood analyses. If you are travelling regularly, your bank might also request to sign a document where you explain where you have travelled the last 24 months, or where you will be travelling the following 24 months, so they know your life is not threatened.

While you have the option to borrow from a UK-based bank, this won’t be easy and going to a French bank is the usual option with different banks having their own criteria.

Getting in touch with a French lender that specialises in offering mortgages to British expats might save you a lot of time and aggravation, as they will tell you exactly the requirements and help you get the best possible deal.

Use a currency specialist

Similarly, getting in touch with a specialist currency broker will also save you lots of money in the long term. Transferring sterling to euro can cost you bank fees, whereas a currency transfer specialist such as UPFX will do so without extra costs while offering you competitive exchange rates.

If you are a British buyer, and want to save money while buying your dream home in  France, 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.

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.

Buying property in Cyprus has grown consistently over the recent years, with many Brits relocating in the Republic of Cyprus. While Covid-19 has hurt the market, interest in property continues as the market is slowly recovering. Paphos and Limassol, for example, are especially sought after as they offer amazing villas and luxury properties in beautiful locations, allowing Brits to enjoy the best of what the island has to offer. In such areas, foreigners constitute as much as 75 percent of the market. Last year, world famous Colombian pop singer Shakira and her famous partner Gerard Pique, who plays for Barcelona football club, bought an exclusive villa in the coastal village of Peyia in Paphos. Celebrities and Hollywood stars have for years chosen Cyprus for their vacations. Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Douglas Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Malkovich, Elton John, Diana Ross and Rod Stewart are a few of the rich and famous who chose to spend their holidays on the sunny Mediterranean island.

Why Cyprus?

With Cyprus being warm all year round, having sandy beaches, and hospitable people, it is not surprising that it has become as popular as Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca. The big difference however is that the island offers some beautiful but affordable properties.

Home prices on Cyprus are indeed much cheaper when compared to Marbella, Spain, or the Algarve in Portugal. Whereas a villa in Spain or Portugal would be about 400,000 or 450,000 euros ($475,000 to $535,000), a villa in Paphos would be half the price. Cyprus’s coastal property prices could “range from as much as $724 a square foot in Limassol district to as little as $423 a square foot in Paphos district.”

Before the pandemic, Russians and Chinese buyers were the top international buyers, with many relocating their families and acquiring European citizenship by investing in property. German, British and Scandinavian buyers, as well as buyers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and South Africa have also preferred Cyprus, due to its location and its proximity to Europe.

Things to consider when buying property in Cyprus

Although some foreigners have bought houses in the illegally occupied area of Cyprus, these have usually been controversial due to the complexities and restrictions on home purchases on that part of Cyprus. As a recent article in the New York Times noted, “While European Union citizens with residency in the southern part of Cyprus can purchase unlimited properties there, others are limited to one apartment, house or plot….In northern Cyprus, the limit is four properties” but “buyers wishing to purchase a home there must confirm in advance that it actually belongs to the seller and not to a Greek Cypriot, because they may be exposed to criminal liability due to the political situation in Cyprus.”

Buyers across Cyprus should also be careful when buying a property, ensuring that the house “is free of any charges, mortgages or other encumbrances with the provincial land registry.”

When you decide to purchase a property on the island, it is usually recommended that you get in touch with a lawyer who will typically charge about 2,000 euros to serve as your local lawyer, protecting your interests and explaining the complexities of the market. When you are purchasing property, stamp duties range from 3 percent to 8 percent, depending on the property’s sale price, with the seller paying 5 percent real estate commission.

If you are considering buying your dream home in Cyprus, 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.

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.

With more businesses opening slowly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impending Brexit transition period ending on 31 December, an increasing number of Brits are looking to buy property in France. Many Brits want to secure a French property before Brexit, while others have chosen France for their holiday home, as they can drive there by car or reach it by ferry.

In The Connexion, an estate agent highlighted the rising demand for French homes by Brits, saying that “the phones have not stopped ringing’” as Britons are interested in buying a home in France before the end of the Brexit transition period.

Staycations

In an article in The Times, interest in staycations has now become the norm, especially after Covid-19 where travellers avoid airports. But, the meaning of a staycation need not be limited to spending vacations on British soil. Brits remain interested in buying a home abroad, but they are now choosing locations that they can reach by car. Director of French estate agency Leggett Immobilier, Joanna Leggett, notes that “We have seen a 42% rise since this time last year in enquiries from the British for properties that they can drive to.” “If you can get in your car, go through the Channel Tunnel and be in your house without having to see anyone except passport control, that’s actually a really good option for people now,” she said.

Brexit and buying a house in France

The number of British people moving to EU countries has remarkably grown since the 2016 Brexit referendum. With the UK expected to leave the single market after January 1, 2021, and any British arrival to France after that date to be regarded as outside the European Union, many Brits have begun looking for their holiday homes in France. This has helped increase property sales and may also result in France overtaking Spain as the number 1 destination for Brits moving abroad.

As Joanna Leggett said, this has had a positive effect on the property market: "Our sales to Brits at the beginning of the year were up 38% [year-on-year] until March, 85% of them were for main homes.  Our website hits are up 87% for the English-language version of our site and enquiries on properties are going completely mad.  We have so many Brits with reserved bookings coming from July, we expect the next three months to be our busiest ever." She also remarked: “I think the mad panic does seem to be that the British want to get here and they want to find their property and to be in it to qualify for the residency that we get at the moment.” She added that the period between July and September will be the busiest as restrictions might ease for travelling. “We have said that it does take three to four months for a sale to complete, so if people do want to be in their house they need to have made an offer by the end of September to be able to complete by December,” she said.

What happens after Brexit?

While the negotiations are still ongoing and there are many issues still to be resolved, one thing that is certain is that Brits will still be eligible to buy and rent out homes in France, as well as stay in France for 90 out of 180 days without the need of a visa.

If they move to France before the end of the transition period, it is expected that their rights will be the same as now, including their residency status, healthcare and uprating their UK state pensions.

According to estate agents Leggett Immobilier, Brits will “still be able to move here [after the transition period], there may be a little more paperwork than would previously have been required.”

Currency Exchange

If you are buying a holiday home in France, 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.