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Some good news on the exchange rate front for GBP

 

There is some good news on the exchange rate front for those of you with British Pounds

Sterling has taken a real battering in recent months, most notably against the US dollar and the euro, making properties in the countries that use those currencies much less affordable than they were six months ago.

However, a careful study of foreign exchange tables reveals that the fall in the value of the pound hasn't been universal. Comparing rates on 20 July 2008 - when a pound was still worth $2, give or take a gnat's whisker - and 20 January 2009, there are a number of countries where the pound has actually risen against the local currency.

In Australia, for example, £1 bought 2.055 Australian dollars back then; at the latest count, it bought AU$2.11. The picture with New Zealand dollars is similar; up from NZ$2.620 to NZ$2.639.

Gains have been much greater closer to home. In Eastern Europe, the Pound has risen in value against the Czech Koruny, Hungary's Forint, the Polish Zloty and Romania's New Lei.

As at 17 February 2009, the date we are posting this article extract on our own website, the increase of the value (since 20 July 2008) of the pound against East European currencies was as follows:

Against:

Romanian Lei +8.5%

Czech Koruny  +15%

Hungarian Forint +20%

Polish Zloty +22%

In most cases, the currencies which have fallen have done so due to a combination of weak economic performance and their very independence; the financial crisis has sparked a flight towards the major currencies in spite of the problems in the US and Euro-zone economies. One caveat to be aware of is that properties marketed to overseas buyers can often be priced in these major currencies outside their main zone of circulation: for example, the US dollar is widely used for pricing real estate across the Caribbean and in parts of South America. The euro plays a similar role in much of Eastern Europe.

Contrary to the above statement, over 90% of the properties on our books have prices set in Hungarian Forint, not Euro.

If you're looking at buying in any country outside the main currency zones, you should take into account where prices are moving within that local market; and also how the currency in question is likely to fare in the long run. If it falls against sterling once you've bought, that will hit the value of your asset.

 (Summarised from an article on www.primelocation.com)