More than just an estate agent…

I’ve never liked the term ‘estate agent’. There are far too many negative stereotypes associated with it. I am not that person. So I was delighted to read this piece written by some Danish clients of mine and find that they had coined a new title for me. Ambassador? I’ll take that…. :-)

Read their beautifully written story here – and get inspired!

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We are Signe, Tarje and Roar, Danes and recent homeowners in the rocky part of Asturias; Quiros. We met Mary more or less by chance after having spent half a year on the road with our baby Roar. Before that we were working as respectively an academic and a nurse, but we have always had that nagging feeling that fulfilling the ideals of society was properly not the road to meaningful and happy lives for us. The courage to do something about it, however, only came with parenthood. And while it does take a lot of courage to break away from your routine, we have learned along the way that the shackles don’t just fall off simply because you start to rattle.

We had an idea that we wanted to find a place in Catalunya – and start building towards self-sustainability. However, while Spain is littered with old ruins in need of love – finding a suitable one for sale turned out to be an insurmountable task. While we liked the experience, Catalunya seem to be hit hard by drought-spells and increasing heat – and didn’t really feel like home to us. With a few rock climbing images from Asturias, our heads turned west, and the lushness here immediately felt right.

It is only after you have gone through the process yourself you realize how much work Mary has put into finding properties suitable for expats. Mary calls herself an estate agent, but we feel a more descriptive title would be ambassador. Of course she runs a business, but you can immediately tell her main focus isn’t improving her own margins, but bridging the substantial cultural gap it is for northern Europeans to buy property in Spain.

One show of the abandoned village Eros – halfway up a mountain – and we were sold. We are now a few months in, the house seems to have stopped crumbling down – the once omnipresent brambles are starting to reappear less and less and we are making the first moves at making our house liveable and our garden edible.

Brexit and the Pound – Information and Advice

Our colleagues at Hifx International Payments have been very busy of late with all the market fluctuations and uncertainty surrounding Brexit but they have found time to issue some helpful information and advice for customers who need to make transfers abroad; whether for a one-off house purchase, payment of building costs, or regular transfer of pension or salary into euros.

We’ve reprinted their advice below so you can find out how best to insulate yourself from any Brexit fallout.

 

What impact is Brexit having on the Pound?

 

It’s been just over a week now since the surprise announcement that Britain had voted to leave the EU. Since then, there have been a number of movements in the Pound in both directions. While there have been lots of headlines about the Pound rising or falling, it’s worth remembering that we are still at the beginning of a long journey and it’s likely that there will be a more fluctuations – both up and down – along the way as markets react to each new development.

 

We’ve taken a look at some of the events that have impacted the Pound so far and looked forward to the events that may have an influence in the coming weeks.

 

The reaction so far;

 

It’s been a very busy period for the Pound. It was steadily climbing against the Dollar in the week leading up to the referendum but fell to a 31 year low once the results were announced, followed by a couple of ups and downs as the markets digested the news. A weaker pound is great news for any overseas investors looking to invest in UK property as it can mean substantial discounts in cost. Below is a chart which shows the difference in cost for £1,000,000 property between the highs and lows of the past 2 weeks;

 

 

  High Low Potential Saving
USDGBP $1,500,555 $1,314,698 $185,857
EURGBP €1,313,698 €1,185,396 €128,302
SGDGBP SG2,005,696 SG$1,781,864 SG$223,832
HKDGBP HK$11,640,088 HK$10,203,040 HK$1,437,048
AEDGBP AED5,511,768 AED4,828,818 AED682,950

 

 

GBPUSD Referendum

 

So what have been the main factors affecting these movements?

 

Throughout the referendum campaign period, the Pound generally tended to rise if opinion polls were in favour of Remain and fall if they showed a lead for Leave. On voting day, both the final opinion polls and the betting odds were suggesting that a vote to remain in the EU was most likely, causing the Pound to climb to 1.50 against the Dollar, the highest it has been so far in 2016.

 

This changed rapidly when the first results started to come through, as they suggested that Remain had not done as well as expected. The Pound continued to fall through early Friday morning, falling as low as 1.33, the lowest level since 1985. But after the initial shock, the markets did start to stabilise.

 

Throughout Monday and Tuesday, the initial signs were that the market was starting to recover from the shock, as both the FTSE 100 and the Pound started to rise again. But markets then became more nervous again on Thursday, when the Bank of England suggested that some monetary stimulus was likely to be necessary over the summer.

 

The situation has been broadly similar for the Pound against the Euro. However, it has been slightly complicated by the fact that the European markets were also influenced by the referendum result. This means that, comparatively, some of the fluctuations between the Pound and the Euro have been less severe than between the Pound and the Dollar:

 

GBPEUR Referendum

 

What will happen next?

 

The reaction so far has shown that the Pound is currently in a volatile position. Each piece of breaking news can have a short term effect on its value, but the longer term picture is currently much harder to predict as there simply isn’t enough information at this point.

 

But there are a few key events to look out for that may have an impact:

  • More economic data: this should start to come through in late July and it might provide a clearer picture of how the UK has been affected by the referendum result.
  • Monetary policy action from the Bank of England: Mark Carney has given a clear signal that the Bank of England will be looking at how they can try to offset some of the negative economic shock that they expect to see following the referendum result, possibly this month.
  • New Conservative leader: a removal in uncertainty could cause the Pound to rise, but it may depend on who is chosen. For example, the Pound briefly rose when Boris Johnson announced he wouldn’t be standing in the leadership election.
  • Article 50 triggered: a delay in this could cause the markets to become nervous again due to the ongoing uncertainty, which may cause the Pound to gradually decline.
  • New trading deals: if it appears these will be favourable for the UK, the Pound is likely to rise. But delays in negotiations or negative sentiment from Europe could have the opposite effect.

 

How can you prepare?

 

The good news is that, whatever happens next, there are a few options for you to consider that could help to reduce the risk of currency fluctuations.

 

If you spot a favourable rate, we also have a couple of ways to help you take advantage of this. If you know you have a single large payment coming up, such as a property purchase, you could set up a forward contract. This allows you to buy currency at the current rates, but pay for the majority of it up to two years later.

 

If you need to make regular transfers, such as for a mortgage or a pension, we can help you set up a regular payment plan. This automates your payments and secures the current exchange rate for up to two years.

 

If you’d like to keep an eye on exchange rates, we can help you. On our Marketwatch page, you can watch the market trends or sign up for daily rate alerts on a range of our most popular currencies. If you sign up for a HiFX account, you will also have the option to set up personalised rate alerts, which will let you know when your target currency hits your desired rate.

 

Whatever your international payment needs, HiFX is on hand to help. If you’d like to find out more, please call our friendly experts at your local Spanish office 0034 951 203 986 or email costadelsol@hifx.co.uk