Whether you're taking out a mortgage to buy an investment property, or are making a move abroad and need a loan to finance the house purchase, one aspect that needs to be considered is the foreign exchange of currency to buy the property.
Most buyers require some kind of mortgage loan to buy property abroad and while assessing the cost of foreign exchange might not be the most interesting part of buying a dream home in the sun, it remains an essential part of the process for many buyers.
Transferring funds from one country to another is a hazardous business, as no one can accurately forecast foreign currency exchange rates.
Variable exchange rates can make a mortgage deal less competitive and also make it harder to make repayments. Exchange rates fluctuate constantly, so purchasing a house in a foreign currency often means agreeing to a price that will change considerably when it comes to actual purchase price.
When purchasing a property abroad, most borrowers set up an account in a local currency and move money whenever required. When it comes to servicing a mortgage loan, it is possible to set up a standing order to transfer repayments or move a lump sum to cover repayments in advance. Whichever method is chosen, exchange rates can have a bearing on how much money is worth.
Foreign exchange for mortgages abroad varies from country to country and consumers considering paying off a mortgage abroad need to be aware of the history and predicted future economy of the country.
Foreign exchange is affected by a numerous factors, including interest rate changes, unemployment levels, global events and political stability. Currency specialists indicate that when taking out foreign exchange for mortgages abroad, the best policy is to spread risk. Options for this include specialist policies such as forward contracts and limit orders.
Foreign exchange for mortgages works both ways, with the upshot being the potential for currency fluctuations to work for you rather than against you. For instance, if the pound climbs in value against the currency of the mortgage, fewer pounds will be required to meet mortgage payments.
Two foreign exchange providers to consider are Moneycorp and FC Exchange.
Moneycorp has four different divisions:
FC Exchange is a UK-based commercial currency broker and has a variety of customers, including private individuals buying property abroad and sending deposits/mortgage repayments and larger companies with more complex foreign exchange requirements.
The draft Finance Bill published in December 2011 contained a new relief exempting gains on foreign currency held in bank accounts. So, for example, if you have been holding the proceeds of a sale of an overseas home and make a gain on currency movements, you will not be liable to tax from 6 April 2012.