CURRENCY WATCH: The best bets for April

Currency Index look back at exchange rates in March, and the headlines likely to be affecting rates in April for buyers of overseas property.

In contrast to the first 3 months of the year, March saw the Pound finish higher against all major currencies,  good news for buyers of overseas property. Some tentative signs of recovery in the UK have helped sterling, while new fears over government debt in Europe (Spain specifically) and structural problems in the US, have kept other currencies weaker.

In March, the most improved exchange rate was GBP-AUD, with the Australian Dollar over 4% cheaper at the end of the month. The Aussie has remained very strong over recent history, so this will come as some respite for Brits looking to emigrate to Australia.

The South African Rand and New Zealand Dollar rates also posted impressive improvements.

For the mainstream US Dollar and Euro, we have seen modest improvements in rates, and a relatively stable month with the Euro rate only varying (from high to low) 1.53% in March, compared with 2.75% in February.

Exchange Rate Movement against sterling, March 2012

Overseas property buyers should be aware of key events coming up in April which are likely to affect exchange rates and therefore their overseas property prices:

• Ongoing: stability or not for the Eurozone – is Spain the next Greece?
• Thursday 5th: Bank of England monthly policy announcement
• Thursday 12th: Trade balance
• Tuesday 17th: CPI inflation
• Wednesday 18th: Bank of England minutes
• Friday 20th: Retail sales
• Wednesday 25th: GDP

For comment and analysis on any of the above, please contact Currency Index or see our blog which is updated throughout the month:
Applying the exchange rate change to recent changes in local property markets around the world reveals the real change in cost to British buyers of property around the world.

The cost of overseas property for British buyers has again fallen in real terms in many overseas markets. A property in Portugal is now nearly 4% cheaper for example, due to recent falling local prices combined with a better exchange rate.

The recently-reported plummet in Spanish property prices will likely filter through to next month’s Currency Watch and we would expect to see the overall cost for UK buyers, particularly in Europe, to become even more attractive just as the traditional season for Brits buying in the sun picks up pace. Happy bargain hunting!

Data: Currency Index Mar  ’12 /  Global Property Guide Q4 2011