Buying property in France is a big commitment, considering the complexities of Brexit and living abroad. Despite, however, that the UK is leaving the EU, Brits continue to buy homes in France for permanent residence or for visiting during their holidays. For the Brits who already own a house in France, the same rules will apply, but after Brexit, different property regulations might apply for non-EU members.

What to do in the meantime?

If you are moving to France or already living there, you should register as a resident and also for healthcare. Make sure that your passport is valid for travelling.

Residency

Currently, you can still apply for a European carte de séjour at your local prefecture, as préfectures will continue to accept applications and issue EU cartes de séjour to UK nationals. After Brexit, however, and despite having your European carte de séjour, you will need to get a different residence permit depending on your situation. For example, you could be a UK national waiting for French nationality or a UK national married to, or in a civil partnership with, a French national.

In the case of a no deal Brexit, and after the new system is launched, UK nationals who have lived in France for at least five years and have a permanent carte de séjour will be able to exchange it for the new card easily.

Buying property in France

Rural France is of course much cheaper than Paris or popular areas such as Lyon or Bordeaux. Dordogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Toulouse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Brittany are some of the areas particularly popular among British expats. In the Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, for example, an average property price is €111,000. However, when you are interested in cheaper properties, you should look at more rural areas such as Nièvre, Burgundy-Franche-Comté. There, the average property price is €85,400, whereas in Indre, Centre-Val de Loire, an average property price is €80,000. In Creuse, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, one of the cheapest departments in France for property an average property can cost around €66,000 and in Cantal, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, you can get a property for €86,500.

What to consider before purchasing

Before buying your dream home abroad, you should consider a few things. First, you will need to think about who is buying (wife/husband) and what happens in the case of the owner dying. Then is the important issue of financing your move and buying the property, which can also mean borrowing funds or selling your property back in the UK.

It is significant that you take your time before signing any binding contract, so you understand the terms and conditions, the property itself and your rights. Find out as much as you can about the property, its surrounding area and any pending development plans that might alter the landscape, your property’s views or its future price.

For building a property, or for any renovations, make sure you have a planning permission or immediately consult an official from the relevant department. Your architect or engineer should be able to direct you accordingly. French land is classified according to the kind of planning zone within which it falls, and it can range from NC (non-constructible), through NA and NB on to UB and other urban classifications. This means that its classification will determine the amount of floor space which you will be allowed to build on that land.

Currency matters

Other very important considerations are transferring funds to buy your property and choosing a reliable foreign exchange specialist for doing so. Currently, anyone buying property abroad will find that the pound to euro exchange rates continue to be unpredictable.  Risks of a notable decline in the pound due to fears of a no deal Brexit continue. On Wednesday, this was mostly felt after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that he won’t be asking for an extension to Brexit if Parliament does not pass a Brexit deal on 19 October.

With the currency market continuing to be volatile, the best option is to get help from an expert currency broker such as Universal Partners FX.

UPFX can assist you with your international currency transfers, making the process easy, fast and cost-effective. Whether you will need to make multiple transfers or a large currency transfer, a volatile and unpredictable market can significantly affect the value of your funds, especially when exchanging it into foreign currencies. Get in touch with them today to find out how they can help you.

Life after Brexit might seem uncertain, but for many Brits the decision to buy property in Spain is a certain fact. While there might be certain changes in terms of British citizens’ rights with perhaps more documentation and bureaucratic controls, the promise of a sunnier climate and a richer lifestyle is definitely a key factor when moving to Spain.

UK nationals living in the European Union

As the government notes, continuing to live and work in the EU after Brexit would be influenced by each country’s rules and regulations. If you are a resident in Spain, you should register as one, as well as register for healthcare. You should also check if your passport is still valid for travelling and exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one.

Buying property in Spain

Buying property can be a very hard decision and a very complicated process. But if you have done your research and sought out the right people to offer support and guidance, you will easily navigate all the complexities and be prepared for any unexpected changes. For one, getting legal advice from an independent lawyer who had good knowledge of Spanish land law (urbanismo), will help you when dealing with developers or estate agents. In this respect, you will be protected from fraud and you will safeguard your interests and finances. While you might be very excited buying or building your own home abroad, being careful with the individual agents and lawyers, and always looking after your own interests is very wise in order to avoid disappointment.

The same goes with the Spanish notary public who will offer legal advice, prepare the contract and issue the public deeds. You might prefer to work with a British estate agent but ensure that they are reliable and registered with the Law Society in the UK. If you are looking for a lawyer or translator the government’s website has qualified professionals on their website.

If you need more assistance with the language and communication, especially when signing a contract, you will need to get an independent translator by checking the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs website.

Things to do before transferring money to purchase the property

Before you buy the property, make sure you check the land registry extract (nota simple), so you know that the sellers are the same with the registered owner(s) of the property and land. It will be wise to check that there are no debts or charges, including a mortgage or any legal proceedings against the particular property. Documents such as the planning permissions and the property itself should have all licences and permissions.

In any case, having the property surveyed by a chartered surveyor would be the best route when you want to have everything in order without worrying. When you purchase the property you will pay tax, so you should know the cadastral value of the property and how much purchase tax will be due.

Check important documents:

First, make sure that the previous owner paid the owner’s annual property tax (IBI), by seeing the receipt. The town hall should provide a certificate proving that there are no unpaid rates from previous years.

You will need to get the cadastral certificate (with boundaries and size of your plot) that must correspond to the Land Registry records. You will need a habitation certificate to connect the electricity and water companies, as well as a receipt to prove all utility bills have been paid. You might also need a certificate signed by the President of the Community of Property Owners stating that there are no outstanding debts.

From 1 June 2013, all homes for sale or to let in Spain need an energy efficiency certificate, so ensure that the seller has this certificate. Once you get all documents, you should register the property in your name with the Land Registry.

Transferring funds

When you have all the papers in order, you would start thinking about transferring your funds from a UK bank account to a Spanish account to pay for the property. Transferring large amounts of money can be stressful, so getting in touch with a reliable foreign exchange specialist such as Universal Partners FX will protect your funds and save you time and money. UPFX have many years of experience in the currency market and can provide the best tailored solution for your money. Get in touch with them today and find out how they can help you make the most of your money.

No-deal Brexit might loom on the horizon, but this has not deterred many Brits from buying or considering to buy property abroad.

When it comes to Brexit, the latest release of a government document outlining “reasonable worst case scenarios” in the case of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, has left many shocked. While the government resisted the publication of the so-called Operation Yellowhammer document, the six-page document which is dated 2 August and was leaked to the Sunday Times last month, warns of a three-month disruption at Dover and other channel crossings, public disorder and shortages of fresh food.

Buying in France

While the political landscape in Britain is chaotic, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking more threatening day by day, many Brits are considering moving to France.

As the British parliament is trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, many European countries, including France, Spain and Germany are preparing for Brexit.

The French government and customs authorities will test a period before Brexit to judge the preparedness of companies in the case a no-deal Brexit. According to Gerald Darmanin, the French minister in charge of overseeing the customs agency, French companies which conduct their business in Britain will have to present their plans online, make their declarations to customs officers and open up their shipments to inspectors.

He explained that countries doing business with Britain should be prepared to deal with the country as if it was “South Africa.” He also explained that, “For a month, we are going to act as if there is Brexit for a large number of companies. We’re going to put in place a sort of general rehearsal, so that we are ready at the end of October.”

With more than 4 million trucks going through the northern port of Calais every year, businesses have been used to frictionless trade without having to deal with customs controls and borders. For this reason, many fear that a no-deal Brexit would cause chaos at the borders creating uncontrolled traffic. In this respect, customs officers' numbers will increase by 700, while the customs agency is practicing all through September to prepare.

Residency rights for Brits

According to The Local, France will launch a new online platform in October so that Brits can apply for their carte de séjour residency permits. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, stated: "The Ministry of the Interior will launch an online registration platform for British nationals living in France in October." The website will be in English and Brits will be able to complete their application online, scan in all relevant supporting documents and then receive a receipt for their application, with only one in-person appointment for fingerprints. This appointment can be done at préfectures, sous-préfectures or local mairies. Some prefectures have closed applications as they don’t know yet what will happen with Brexit, while others are processing applications within weeks. The online application system can be used by Brits already living in France on the day of Brexit.

The French government and the British embassy have advised British residents in France, living there for more than five years, to apply for cartes de séjour residency permits.

After Brexit, all British people will apply for residency rights, in the same way that third-country nationals do. While a no-deal Brexit will allow for a one-year grace period, applications should be sent within six months of Brexit day. On the other hand, if there is a deal in place, there might be a transition period until December 2020. For those who already have a carte de séjour permanent they will be able to exchange it after Brexit. More information is regularly updated on the French government’s website.

Kalba Meadows from the British in Europe citizens’ rights’ group said: "We were given to understand last year that there would be a centralised application platform, and this was confirmed in the table produced by the European Commission in June, so while it's not 'new news' for us it's good that a timeline will now been put into place so that the process can begin as soon as possible. It's going to be a mammoth task processing applications from up to 200k Brits in France. As ever, the devil is in the detail though - and we understand that although applications will be made on a central online platform they will still be processed by individual préfectures, many of which will struggle to meet the demand without extra resources.”

For the French government a no-deal Brexit is the most likely scenario, with officials expecting an economic slowdown.

Universal Partners FX

If you are considering buying a property abroad amidst Brexit preparations and uncertainty, you should also be prepared and secure your funds. If you don’t want to worry about currency volatility and future exchange rates, you could fix your rate today. Universal Partners FX can help you hedge your funds, get access to the best exchange rates and transfer your funds fast, securely and cheaply. Give them a call today to find out more about international currency transfers and saving costs.

 

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.

Brexit: Buying Property Abroad as Pound Tumbles

Buying property abroad has become more complex the last few years as Brexit uncertainty and the pound’s volatility continue to negatively impact the UK economy, with fears of a recession increasing.

Brexit update

On Tuesday (3/9), the pound experienced increased volatility, reaching its lowest level  in 34 years, from which it rebounded, as rebel Tory and opposition MPs attempted to block a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister Boris Jonson was eventually defeated. According to the so-called Benn bill, if he is unable to reach an agreement with Brussels in the next few weeks, he will have to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union until 31 January.

Sterling dropped due to fears of a snap general election, reaching its lowest level in more than three decades, with the exception of the October 2016 “flash crash." Ahead of the vote, and after Tory MP Philip Lee’s defection to the Liberal Democrats, it rose slightly.

“For all the uncertainty that lies ahead, markets see a Boris Johnson led no-deal Brexit as the worst-case scenario and thus treat anything that undermines that as pound positive,” said analyst at IG Joshua Mahony.

According to the Independent, a Bloomberg survey last month, showed that a delay was seen as the most positive outcome for the pound. Sterling has tumbled significantly since the EU referendum in June 2016.

Boris Johnson’s defeat by a margin of 328 to 301 on Tuesday, has put the prime minister in a precarious position, and has wounded his rhetoric of no-deal. As a result of his defeat, the prime minister said he would table a bill to trigger a general election, but Labour said it would not back his election motion, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass through the Commons.

On Thursday, the House of Lords voted in favour of getting the Benn bill, that will rule out a no-deal Brexit, through all the stages of parliament by Friday afternoon.

Buying your dream abroad

For many, the decision to buy a home abroad is not significantly affected by Brexit. They have prepared and have done their research and are confident that their decision is final. For them, consulting a leading expert in transferring money abroad has also given them peace of mind. Foreign exchange specialists such as Universal Partners FX have years of experience in international money transfers and can navigate volatile currency markets, saving you money and time. So, considering the current volatility and the weakness of the pound, getting help from UPFX will help you significantly when you make large international transfers to buy property abroad or pay related costs.

Residency rights

Due to the fact that many Brits are already living in countries such as France and Spain, and with more EU countries guaranteeing British expats post-Brexit grace periods, British expats are slightly less worried about Brexit, especially the ones already living there. As many European countries have pledged to offer legal residency rights to British expats in return for the same rights for European nationals residing in the UK, it is hard to see that certain freedoms will completely eclipsed after Brexit. For example, the Italian government has announced that British expats will remain legal residents in the event of no deal, while the Spanish authorities are saying British expats will have the same rights in Spain post-Brexit as long as Spaniards already living in the UK are offered the same residency rights.

France has also made sure to clarify its position on residency by passing a bill in the case of a no-deal Brexit, followed by a government decree. Like other European countries, France will apply these rights as long as the UK does the same for French nationals living in the UK. After Brexit, for example, Britons in France will have six months to apply for a residence card. During the one-year transitional period Brits will continue to have existing rights over residence, work and benefits, while they can enjoy access to healthcare for two years after Brexit. Remain in France and the UK government website provide more details.

So, if you are buying a home in a European country, you need to consider all the complexities of life abroad after Brexit. More importantly, as the pound continues to fluctuate, getting expert help from a foreign exchange specialist such as UPFX, will prove to be extremely beneficial especially when you are transferring your hard-earned money. Get in touch with them today for a quick quote and find out how much you can save on your international currency transfers.

Buying property abroad can be hard but is especially harder when considering the current political impasse. After the prime minister, Boris Johnson, received the Queen’s approval to suspend parliament for five weeks from early September, in a move that has been criticised as “profoundly undemocratic” and “sinister,” Brexit continues to be one of the thorniest issues in the UK.

Brexit and expats

This is why, when thinking of moving abroad, British retirees might need to firstly research and understand the complexities of post-Brexit life outside the UK.

What would a long-term residency mean, or what would be the changes to pensions for Brits abroad. For example, it is unclear whether transfers to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme will be tax-exempt post-Brexit. Additionally, for anyone considering buying property abroad, the biggest issue is currency volatility and its impact on international money transfers. Once you decide to buy your property and want to transfer funds to pay for your property, you don’t want to find that your hard-earned money was significantly affected by the movement of the pound due to Brexit developments.

What to consider when deciding to purchase a property

Researching and understanding local laws regarding buying a property should be one of your first steps. The process of buying a property abroad will be different from place to place, with specific laws and regulations for foreign residents buying property. If you would like to invest in a property abroad to let it afterwards, you should most likely follow the same steps, and research the laws about renting. You don't want to spend a large sum of money on a property that will be chained to a set of rules and limitations, something that will eventually hurt your funds. While you might be looking at European countries such as Spain and France, you might as well do your research regarding other countries where housing prices, the pound's exchange rates, and the local laws are most favourable to you.

Buy to let

Investing in a property abroad that you can also let is a way to increase your income, so deciding the right location and price, and understanding its potential and rental yield are important factors. If you are unsure, discussing this with mortgage brokers, financial planners and accountants might help you decide on whether this is a good investment.

When you deal with tenants, it will be good to have a mediator such as a property manager, who will help you find the right tenant and organise maintenance issues. As long as you are prepared to maintain a property abroad and make it attractive to tenants, then you would also be prepared to pay the costs regarding maintenance and renovation.

Buying a property

Once you have decided on a property, you need to make sure that all papers are in place and all processes are transparent. Get receipts and documents to prove your transactions or agreements and never leave anything to chance. You must always get the title deeds to the property or land, so you know that you own what you have paid for. Also, you need to be aware of any outstanding utility bills or local tax from the previous owner of the property.

If you require financial help to purchase your property, you can get a mortgage, but first do your research and find the right mortgage lender for you. You will need specific mortgage from a bank that supports your chosen country. As it is a competitive market, there are lots of options for you, so get the right solution to meet your own borrowing needs.

Transferring money

When you’re buying property, you’ll need to transfer money overseas. Universal Partners FX is a leading foreign exchange specialist that can assist you with your international currency transfers and save you significant amounts of money on large transfers. UPFX will provide an affordable way to transfer money overseas and protect your funds from foreign exchange risk. Get in touch today to find out how much they can save you on your international money transfers.

Buying a property abroad can be difficult especially with the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. But considering the advantages and disadvantages, and doing your own research wisely, you will be able to buy a property without throwing your life savings away. It will be good to discuss your property purchase with a currency specialist who will help you understand the market and offer assistance when making large or regular international transfers. This will be significant particularly due to the current political chaos in the UK. On Wednesday, Merkel gave the prime minister an ultimatum to find a solution with regards to the Irish backstop, as the pound slipped to low levels, close to the ones seen back in January 2007.

Brexit

In his meeting with Merkel, Johnson accepted the German Chancellor’s "blistering timetable" admitting that it was the UK’s burden to find a solution to the political deadlock. In his familiar humorous style, Johnson repeated Merkel's campaign slogan "Wir schaffen das," or "we can do it," causing laughter among the Chancellor and reporters.

In a Bloomberg article, it was reported that after Boris Johnson’s letter to EU officials, the French government now expects the U.K. to leave the EU without a deal, something that would immediately install border controls at the end of October.

The article notes that with Johnson becoming prime minister, EU officials believe that a no-deal Brexit would be the most likely outcome, as the UK “doesn’t have a realistic plan for an alternative to the backstop. The measure is despised by ardent Brexiteers in Johnson’s Conservative Party because it keeps the U.K. tied to many of the EU’s customs and trading rules, and Parliament has rejected the Brexit deal three times.”

Buying your dream or retirement home

Despite the political deadlock in the UK, if you have made your research and you are certain about moving abroad and purchasing your dream home, then there’s a few things you need to have in mind.

First, you should research the area of your desired property and find out the benefits of living in that neighbourhood. Are there any amenities nearby, is there access to the beach or the motorway, and generally, what is the atmosphere and feeling of the area and community? You will have to live there and, perhaps, in the future, sell the property with significant returns. So, trying to get the best deal for the best location will definitely enhance your investment in the future.

Make sure that you are not buying something you have never seen in person before. In the case that a developing company will take care of the construction of the building, but you have only saw the plans, do your research beforehand and find out whether the developers are reliable. Having a contract that guarantees that by the end of the project you will get what you were promised is the most secure way to safeguard your interests. Not only foreigners, but locals have fallen in the trap of buying a property but not the land is on, resulting in court cases and lots of stress.

Talk to the experts

From currency exchange brokers, to mortgage brokers and lawyers you will need specialist help when deciding to relocate and purchase a property abroad. In this sense, you will need to factor in costs for legal advice, taxes, notary fees, utilities, such as electricity, water, and gas connections.

Buying a property in France or Italy, 10%-12% of the property’s purchase price would go to cover government taxes and legal fees, while in Spain can go up to 12%-16%.

If you are buying property abroad, it is very important to go to a specialist such as Universal Partners FX. With the current volatility and weak pound, it is best that you contact a currency specialist as soon as you start the buying process, so that you get the best exchange rates possible and pay the minimum amount of fees. UPFX conduct in-depth market analysis, use state of the art technology and can offer access to the best exchange rates available. Get in touch with them today to find out how much you can save on your currency transfers.

Spain is a great choice for buying property abroad according to business and finance magazine ABC Money.

While Brexit continues to worry Brits buying property in Spain, the article argues that by 2020 political uncertainty might dissipate and Brexit be resolved. As it notes, “If this does happen markets may begin to stabilise, and there will be far less volatility, for example in currencies. Understanding the costs can make it easier for investors to feel confident.”

However, with Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister and a new cabinet committed to “leaving the EU on or before 31 October, ‘no ifs, no buts,’” it is hard to consider what kind of Brexit resolution there will be.

Nonetheless, it is hard to change your decision to buy abroad once you have made up your mind. Of course, Brexit might be something that will remain a constant source of anxiety, but this does not mean that it can cancel out your decision to buy.

Spain as an ideal choice

If you like feeling part of community, then the large British expat community living in Spain might be enough reason to convince you. More importantly, life in Spain is relatively cheap, property value is on the rise and the quality of life is higher than that of the UK.  Many expats choose sunny places such as the Costa del Sol and Marbella, while others prefer the bustling life of cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.

Property prices

The Spanish property market is currently enjoying a healthy rise, and this is not just temporary. According to a report from Marbella’s real estate agency Panorama, residential property prices rose an average of 6.7 percent across Spain. Hundreds of new modern houses are being built in the greater Marbella area (including Estepona-East and Benahavís), while 20 year old buildings are being refurbished to the highest standards, with many high quality properties for sale.

The report points out that according to the Ministry of Public Works and figures of the National Institute of Statistics, “2018 ended with the best results of the last ten years, with 557,919 residential properties sold (not including public housing sales) of which 50,875 were newly built properties and 507,044 sales of resale properties. These figures represent an increase of 9.4% over the previous year with a sharp upturn in sales noted in January 2019.”

Prices are now returning to those seen before the financial crisis, something that means that they will continue to grow. In this respect, ABC Money argues that “investing in 2020 should see you with a property that will continue to grow.”

Buy to let homes

In the recent years, many are deciding to rent their holiday homes and increase their income, getting a healthy return on their investment. Even if you use the property as a holiday home, you can still rent it during those months you are back in the UK. Since Spain, like many other Mediterranean countries, is a popular holiday destination, with a holiday market that is growing, such a decision makes perfect sense.

A great time to invest in property

With interest rates being very low, now is perhaps the ideal time to get a loan and invest in the Spanish property market. With savings being low and investment opportunities in other countries poor, investing in a property might be the safest way for return on investment. According to ABC Money, “with the Central Bank of Spain forecasting a 10.5 per cent return on residential properties now is the perfect time.”

Universal Partners FX is a great choice when you consider buying a property abroad and transferring your money. With years of experience in the currency market, UPFX are experts in transferring large amounts of money fast and securely. Get in touch with them today to find out how much you can save on your international money transfers when you buy a property.

With Brexit being shrouded in uncertainty, many Brits are dreaming of moving abroad and buying property in the vibrant and romantic southern part of France. 

Southern France and, particularly, Provence, as a Telegraph article tells us, is also the place where Vincent van Gogh produced more than 150 paintings, a place where “the lure of the Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence endures” to this day. Beautiful and magical, “an hour north-west of Marseille and 25 minutes south from the Eurostar or TGV at Avignon, there is a sophisticated array of eateries that service a well-established second-home market, where a pale-olive or dove-grey shuttered Provençal stone mas (farmhouse) is the dream.” It is not difficult to imagine the lures that have driven many of us to such a location. 

Natural beauty dispels Brexit fears 

Brexit anxieties, the spectre of Britain’s European identity weighing heavy on the political landscape, seem to dissipate as one imagines the French medieval villages nested amidst olive trees and pines. As an agent with Knight Frank attests: It’s a “picture-perfect cluster of medieval villages, with traditional weekly markets under plane trees, all with the backdrop of the foothills of the Alpilles, this is classic Provençal life.”  

There is culture and art everywhere, with half of the buyers being wealthy Parisians and Monaco royalty, and the other half British, Swiss, Belgians and Germans. As many of us dream, a big 3-5 bedroom house with a pool and garden seems to be as close to perfection as it gets, but not without a price: “For €1 million (£900,000) you can achieve, this but not with a view; this can push up the price to €2.5-3 million.” For example, with €7.9 million, you can get pure luxury in Saint-Rémy: a “seven-bedroom property … within 10 acres of grounds with 500-odd olive trees, an outdoor cinema, a swimming pool and eye-catching sculptures.”  

Even with prices this high, buyers are still very much interested. Millions of worth of property is still as alluring as ever, since the market is active “and things go for close to asking price.” As the Telegraph article points out, “people choose to buy in Les Baux for the views and in Saint-Rémy for the address.”  

Little Britain? 

Interest in Southern France has remained strong and continues to grow, as many Brits desire their own warm corner in this part of the world. As a result, house prices have increased but, more recently and due to Brexit, prices have dropped and somewhat stabilised. Provence has become the home for many of us Brits, where we have brought our traditions, from cricket teams to fish and chips and pubs.  

But is this what we really dream of? Brexit has brought to the surface many issues regarding our identity, and replicating our British lives abroad appears to be problematic. On the one hand, “we Brits have rescued from oblivion and restored with care buildings that would otherwise be heaps of ruins. We have brought money and tourism to French regions and, in some cases, helped to revive villages that were moribund. Many Brits take an active part in the local community and in cultural and social associations, although most of us are careful to act like foot soldiers rather than generals.” 

 

For these reasons, and because of Brexit, France is in many ways our second home, but we should avoid turning this beautiful and magical corner into little Britain, altering the tranquility and unique character of French customs.  

If you are also dreaming of moving to France and, like us, you have fallen in love with that magical part of Provence, then Universal Partners FX are here to solve all your questions about buying property abroad and transferring your money. Give them a call today and find out how much they can save you when transferring your hard-earned money.  

Property in Spain

Neither a weak currency nor Brexit seem to deter Brits from dreaming of buying their property in Spain. According to removal company AnyVan, Spain is the number one desired destination for British expats, beating such places as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Dubai.

 

AnyVan poll

In a new poll carried out by removal company AnyVan, people in the UK were asked where they would like to live if they could choose anywhere in the world. 13% of Brits said they would choose Spain, while a 12% said they would equally prefer New Zealand or Australia. Other popular places were the US (10%), Canada (9%), Italy (7%) and France (6%). The CEO of AnyVan, Angus Elphinstone, said: "It's nearly a national sport in the UK to dream about moving. From flicking through property prices and listings on Rightmove to sitting down to watch one of the vast number of primetime TV shows offering advice to those looking to change homes for a place in the sun. Our research highlighted where people dream to move to, but there were still 16% of residents who didn't want to move anywhere."

The research demonstrated the differences between ages, as younger people looked for career opportunities in wealthier and bigger countries, where they can work and live comfortably. For example, those under the age of 34 were attracted to the US, with 16% admitting the US was their favourite, followed by Australia and Spain. Dubai was also a favourite among the young, as 4% wanted to move to the Middle East. On the other hand, those over the age of 55, dreamt of moving to New Zealand (14%).

 

Spain: the UK favourite

It's not just because of the sunny Barcelona or Madrid, the flamenco, bullfights and paella. Spain is so much more for Brits and offers everything they could wish for away from home. It's a stunning destination, with a lively culture. But it has also started to improve economically, with youth unemployment being down to 33 percent from over 50 percent in 2013. This is a place where both the young and the old will get to enjoy a rich lifestyle, without feeling isolated or far away from home.

 

Buying property in Spain is not such a bad idea

Brexit uncertainty might not be a defining factor when choosing to move abroad, but it can definitely hurt your finances when transferring large sums of money. It is not surprising that many economists and business professionals are warning that a no-deal Brexit will make things even worse, as the price of the pound could plummet, while many businesses could be under threat. The pound is currently down, especially due to fears of a hard Brexit and because of Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace May, who has said that Britain could leave the EU without a deal at the end of October.

If you are enthralled by Spain and its people, and want to move there, Universal Partners FX can help you with your international transfers and explain the process of moving funds or making regular payments when buying a property abroad. UPFX operates with no hidden fees and ensures that multiple international payments are more cost-effective. With their comprehensive hedging strategies, you can get a level of financial stability and security. Their unparalleled customer service means that you can get hold of them at any time, and they will make sure that your money will get where it needs to be within 24 hours.

If you would like to learn more or want to just understand how currency experts can save you money, give them a call today.