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Considering exchange rates for buying French property

I am hoping to purchase a property in France in the next six months. What should I consider regarding exchange rates? F.M.

Prices differ considerably according to region. There has been a recent surge in Paris though other areas remain comparatively affordable – including parts of the Languedoc, Limousin and, to be more specific, places like Nontron in the Dordogne. While price is a key consideration, as a foreign buyer it is also essential to consider how you will transfer funds. You also need to know what impact the exchange rate you are able to secure could have. Rates can be volatile and fluctuate by significant amounts in a short space of time.

The GBP/EUR exchange rate, for example, has fluctuated between lows of €1.10 and highs of €1.31 over the last 12 months. The difference of 21 cents per pound can add up to thousands more (or less) euros when transferring sums involved in a typical French property purchase. For example, anyone looking to move £150,000 to France the day before the EU referendum would have achieved €196,500 to put towards their property purchase. By October 2016 that same £150,000 would have been worth just €165,000 – €31,500 less.

That could be the difference between having two or three bedrooms, or having enough funds left over to renovate.

But if rates fluctuate so much, how can you time your currency transfer effectively and get the most for your money?

One way is to stay up-to-date with currency news. By subscribing for market updates you can keep an eye on what the rate is doing and move money if it shifts in your favour. With some international money transfer providers you can also set up a ‘Rate Alert’, where you are informed automatically if the rate hits a certain level. With information to hand, you can feel more confident knowing you are moving your money when the timing is right.   

Question answered by Pippa Maile of Currencies Direct. For more information on international money transfers with Currencies Direct see or call +33 (0)4 22 32 62 40

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