TIME TO BUY A HOME ABROAD? WHERE THE STRONG POUND MEETS INEXPENSIVE HOUSING..

By on February 23rd, 2015

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Property prices are recovering – and your pound will go further. Telegraph Money research reveals where people are looking, and where the bargains can be found

Estate agents in Ireland estimate that rural locations could be undervalued by as much as 60pc, indicating strong investment potential Image Source: Telegraph

Data compiled for Telegraph Money shows a surge in interest among British buyers looking to buy abroad, driven by the pound’s new strength against the euro.

Buying a €500,000 Italian property, for example, now saves £26,041 compared with January 2014.

The euro has weakened against sterling because of fears over quantitative easing, designed to rescue languishing European economies, and a possible standoff between Europe and Greece. All this has pushed the pound to a seven-year high, boosting the spending power of sterling buyers.

Now, 48pc more Britons are searching for property in Spain and Ireland than a year ago, Rightmove data shows. Interest is also up elsewhere. In the United States it has increased by 38pc.

Our extensive research, presented in the charts, below, shows which countries balance cheap exchange rates with inexpensive housing, using official figures from Eurostat, the EU’s data agency, and the OECD.

HiFX, a foreign exchange firm, echoed Rightmove’s data, registering a 27pc rise in inquiries from Britons who want to buy property in the eurozone. Buyers shouldn’t delay, experts say, as the pound could weaken as the general election draws closer.

“A hung parliament will inevitably leave markets uncertain as to which political party will govern the country and the pound is likely to weaken,” said Andy Scott of HiFX.

Sterling also buys more currency outside the eurozone. Marianne Gilmore, of foreign exchange specialist Moneycorp, said that now was a good time to buy Polish zloty or Croatian kuna, where exchange rates are far better than in 2014.

Sterling doesn’t go quite as far now in Switzerland, following the country’s decision to float its currency free from the euro. In mid-January £100 would have bought 155 Swiss francs, now this sum buys 137 francs. With prices for a small chalet in the Alps starting at around £2.5m, Swiss property is further out of reach of British buyers.

See also: One country you haven’t thought of – where your pound now goes 30pc further

Where property buyers are searching – and what the market says

 

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