Currency exchanges affecting life abroad for UK expats
Published: 5 Mar at 6 PM
Expats, pensioners and holiday homeowners are selling up and returning home in large numbers – or at least sending their foreign money back to Britain.
UK-based foreign-currency brokers are reporting a massive amount of foreign money being converted back into pounds from overseas. At the same time, property companies from overseas have seen British buyers turn their back on the traditionally popular Mediterranean countries of Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.
Reasons for this differ depending on the country the money is from: in Europe, the driving force is fear as Britons are concerned about how safe the euro is, the property market and the strength of banks; meanwhile in Australia, people are cashing in on a strong dollar.
In addition, many pensioners who opted for a life overseas have seen the buying power of British pensions tumble as the sterling weakened and led to the cost of living rising in their new homes, meaning it was too expensive for many to stay living abroad.
Over the past year, currency broker HiFX has experienced a rise of 155 per cent in the amount of euros changed back into sterling, despite the recent weakening of the euro. This is not a new trend. Over the last three years, there’s been a year-on-year increase of 25 per cent in funds being sent home to the UK, revealed Smart Currency Exchange.