Expatriate Britons are struggling to cope with the mostly weakening pound in a number of key offshore markets, a survey by foreign exchange provider Moneycorp has found, with those in Spain described as suffering the most.
Émigrés in Australia and New Zealand, however, appeared “relatively unaffected by the weakening pound”, the survey noted. It also found expats “hit hard” by problems in many foreign property markets.
The findings echo those of other recent surveys, as well as the recent comments of many financial advisers with expatriate clients.
The survey was conducted by telephone in October and November for Moneycorp by marketing consultancy Vanson Bourne. It sought the opinions and experiences of of some 250 Europe-based UK ex-pats and émigrés, and another 250 British expats from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Expatriates living in these last two countries appeared to be faring better through the downturn than some other Brits living far from home. “Less than a quarter of British expats in Australia (23%) and New Zealand (24%) said that their spending power had decreased,” Moneycorp said.
Other findings of the survey:
• More than four in five (85%) Spanish expats say the value of sterling has impacted them financially, with three quarters (79%) saying that their spending power has decreased as a result.
• Britons living in Germany and Italy are also being significantly impacted by the fall in sterling, as 67% and 66% of expats in these countries, respectively, reported feeling the pinch.
• In France, the story is similar, with nearly half reporting they are being impacted by the fall in sterling; the figure in the US was 61%.
• Demand for property and rental values declined the most in Italy and Spain, the survey found. House prices in Italy have fallen by an average of 10% to 20%, while those in Spain are down by as much as 65%.
Moneycorp head of private clients David Kerns said the findings revealed British expats “have had a tough time, and…no country has escaped unharmed from the economic downturn”.
He urged struggling expats to monitor the currency markets and seek expert guidance to minimise their difficulties, “avoid nasty surprises in exchange rates, and determine the best time to transfer money to and from the UK”.
Moneycorp is a trading name of TTT Moneycorp Limited, which has been dealing in foreign exchange since 1979 and last year handled more than £11bn in currencies.