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Posted December 8th, 2015 by Charles Purdy

Bumper year for the Overseas Guides Company, thanks in part to a strong sterling

The latest Quarterly Index figures for the months of June to September 2015 from the Overseas Guides Company were released in November, and showed a significant increase in the number of enquiries they received during this time period. These enquiries are measured by the number of downloads of their Buying Guides for a variety of countries – and almost 17,000 downloads were recorded over the summer of 2015. This is the highest number since records began – and a 53% increase on the numbers seen in 2014.

The performance of sterling, particularly against the euro, throughout 2015 is undoubtedly a large factor behind this increased interest – this ensured that those who held sterling and were looking to buy in the most popular countries of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy could take advantage of the increased buying power this strength bought them.

The GBP/EUR exchange rate hit a high of 1.44 over this summer, meaning a €250,000 property would cost £173,611. Considering the same property would have cost more than £20,000 property more in January, when the GBP/EUR rate was at 1.29, it’s no surprise to see why Brits have wanted to take advantage of this.

From the conversations that the OGC Resource Centre have on a regular basis, it becomes apparent that many of our clients travelled over to their chosen part of the world this summer – and were buoyed by the ever-decreasing costs of living over there.

Smart Currency Exchange CEO, Charles Purdy, agreed, and further explained: “It is also likely that the Conservative government’s majority win at the election in May has contributed to this record number of enquires, alongside the pension reforms that kicked in earlier this year. The formation of a majority government instilled a sense of stability into the UK nation, its economy and its housing market – and most importantly gave the British people the confidence to invest their money overseas. When you compare this to the unseasonal fall in enquiries seen last summer, this can be attributed to the uncertainty surrounding the September 2014 Scotland Referendum and the resultant weakening of sterling which encouraged British people to put their overseas buying plans on hold.

“The new freedom for pensions will have also had an effect, possibly steering older people towards using the cash freed from their pension pot to purchase overseas property.”

This just goes to show how important it is to consider currency exchange in your plans to buy property or move overseas – in particular, keep one eye on the strength of sterling when you are looking to purchase property abroad. If you are thinking about, or even in the process of, purchasing property abroad, it’s so important that you ensure you speak to us as early as possible to plan your currency strategy.

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