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Brits look to Europe for property opportunities

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
07/01/2016
As house prices continue to rocket in the UK, with the average London house now costing almost £500,000, Europe is an increasingly attractive market for British buyers looking to invest in property.

The recent low interest rates and the favourable exchange rates have made property an even more appealing asset for those considering a long-term investment.

And international currency transfer specialist UKForex says it has seen a dramatic increase in British purchases in Europe.

In the year to July 2015, it handled £32m in British payments for European property, up a staggering 118% from 2013, with Spain and France seeing demand soar in line with this trend.

Buyers looking beyond the staple favourites in Europe

UKForex has found that Brits’ taste is becoming more varied, as buyers flock to Ireland, Germany and Austria.

It adds that while Germany has traditionally been a nation of renters, its high quality of life is starting to attract British buyers. Recent rent rises have made Berlin an attractive city for buy-to-let investors, while those looking for a second home in Germany can profit from relatively low prices.

Austria’s popularity among British buyers has rocketed too from almost no interest in 2013 to one of the top destinations among UK buyers last year.

In 2015, it also noted some more exotic purchases in Malta, Monaco and Andorra.

Sterling remains strong against the euro

The pound may have dipped from €1.44, the seven-year high it reached in July 2015, but UKForex says this does not mean today’s exchange rate is poor.

At €1.34, the rate is better than anything witnessed between 2013 and 2014, when the pound slid to €1.14 at its lowest.

As a result, Europe remains a smart option for Brits looking to make their budgets go further.

So how can you get the best deal?

UKForex says you need to time it right. Fluctuations in international currency markets mean that when exchange rates work in your favour, you need to move fast to take advantage.

In this situation, one-off or single transfers are ideal when you need to move money quickly.

It also says that buyers should look around for the best exchange rates before committing to a transfer provider.

Typically, banks will quote rates between 3-5% higher than the market rate, while specialist providers will be able to give you a much better deal, though do watch out for hidden transfer fees.

UKForex says it is always worth comparing quotes from established, FCA-regulated foreign exchange companies, who will be the most likely to offer you fair and transparent rates as well as safe transfers.

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