The pound hits a two-year high against the euro
Britons looking to buy property in France have received a huge boost as the pound hit a two-year high against the euro.
With �1 currently worth 1.22 euros, French property specialists are noticing a huge surge in activity from prospective British buyers. Judy Mansfield, of First Rate FX, says: “First Rate FX phones have been ringing off the hook – with those buying property and also those selling are booking a rate to guard against any further weakening of the euro.”
The rise in fortunes of the pound in recent months has been marked, having sunk as low as €1.10 in 2010. Back then, �100,000 would have bought €110,000, whereas now, it would get you €122,060 – a difference of €12,060.
The recent rally has come as the UK economy starts to show positive signs of improvement. Matthew Harris, of Columbus Currency, says: “Unemployment was lower for the first time all year in March, and the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee recently put their faith in a continued recovery by not voting for further economic stimulus in the form of Quantitative Easing. Both retail sales and consumer confidence are up, and inflation is going down to more manageable levels. These are all positive signs that the economy is heading in the right direction, ahead of the official growth figures released next week.”
Patrick Joseph, of French property specialist My-French-House.com, says he believes the exchange rate is one of several factors that is contributing to a 20% rise in enquiries this month compared with April last year.
“Confidence among British buyers looking for property in France is at a two-year high and the exchange rate has a lot to do with that,” says Patrick. “Buyers are getting more for their money now than at any time in the last 12 months. The exchange rate is part of the story but with the French elections just around the corner the property market in France is very quiet and sellers are more open to offers. They’re very realistic about their asking price and that’s creating some exciting opportunities for buyers who can pick up some real bargains.
“No one factor has created this current mood of confidence but the euro rate, the elections and the fact that last year’s eurozone crisis is no longer at the forefront of people’s minds are all contributing to the buoyancy in the market.
“Those looking to retire in France are also being pushed by continuing low interest rates on investments in the UK and talk of the introduction of a ‘granny tax’.
“Spring is always a busy time for us as people try to complete for the summer so they can use the warmer months for holidays and refurbishment work on their new property but this year is definitely much busier than usual.”