Three-quarters of British expats in Spain considering returning home
21 January 2010 @ 09:26
Falling property prices, a weak pound, and fears over job security are forcing those living abroad to rethink the move.
Britons residing in Spain are suffering the most financially, with four in five complaining that the drop in the value of the pound against the euro has left them worse off.
For many of the estimated one million Britons living in recession hit Spain, where unemployment stands at almost 20 per cent, the dream has turned sour.
The poll commissioned by Moneycorp, the UK foreign exchange specialist, found that 74 per cent of those living in Spain are considering repatriation.
Some 37 per cent of those who responded to the survey said they were already looking into returning home and a similar number said they may have to consider the option in the future.
British expats in Germany, Italy and France also responded with 38 per cent, 34 per cent and 33 per cent respectively stating that they would move back to the UK permanently.
David Kerns, Head of Private Clients at Moneycorp predicted a surge in the number of expats returning to the UK from countries within the European Union over the coming months.
"Our research shows that British expats have had a tough time and the findings reveal that no country has escaped unharmed from the economic downturn," he said.
"Brits living in Europe are feeling the effects of the weak pound as they are more likely to be reliant on income from their British property, UK pension and other regular sources of funds."
Those that own property abroad have seen the problem compounded by a dramatic fall in the real estate market, particularly in Spain, where prices on the Costas have dropped as much as 65 per cent.
"Brits living in Spain are particularly affected by the struggling property market with many owning holiday homes and letting out their Spanish properties," explained Mr Kerns.
But he said that British expats could do more to protect their income and avoid "nasty surprises" due to currency fluctuations.
"During challenging times, there is certainly more that expats can be doing to manage their money and make sure that they are making the most of their income," Mr Kern advised.
"By monitoring the currency markets and seeking expert guidance they can avoid nasty surprises in exchange rates and determine the best time to transfer money to and from the UK."