Archive for May, 2009

Canada – Cheapest for Expats

Monday, May 11th, 2009

The cost of emigrating to the USA has increased by almost a fifth in the past six months alone, according to research from Foreign Currency Direct.

Currency fluctuation has increased the cost of living in Canada by only 3 per cent in the last six months which means that with sterling strengthening against the Canadian dollar, British expats living there are enjoying more for their pound.

The average cost of a property in Canada has risen by only £5,599 in six months, a long way from the £32,303 increase in the US.

The average Spanish property now costs £31,576 more to a British buyer than it did in November last year, yet the cost of living in Canada has gone up by just 3 per cent, representing the smallest change of all expat hot spots.

Britons who are already overseas and receiving income from property or pensions in sterling have seen some serious price hikes.

The pound reached record lows against the euro in January, and living as an expat in Europe is now a fifth more expensive than it was in November last year.

Brits emigrating to or living in the USA have seen the average property price rise by £32,303 since November last year, and the cost of groceries, services, meals out and leisure activities has gone up by £373 over the same period.

In February, British expats were enjoying some cost of living reductions as the pound was stronger against the Australian and New Zealand dollar, but even these expats are now seeing their cost of living rise as sterling struggles against other world currencies.

How much impact these currency fluctuations has had depends on which country you are living in, with the USA and France now the most expensive expat destinations.

Peter S Ellis, chief executive of Foreign Currency Direct, said: “Recent exchange rate fluctuations have had a considerable impact on the cost of buying a property and living overseas.

“Despite the euro maximising exchange rates across Europe, the cost of living still varies considerably across the region, meaning that exchange rate fluctuations have a magnified impact in more expensive regions.

“When considering a move abroad it is important to consider not only current exchange rates, but also any likely future currency changes and the cost of living in your preferred country.”

Mr Ellis added: “In the last year Foreign Currency Direct has seen a 29.3 per cent increase in the number of our clients transferring funds to and from Canada and New Zealand, suggesting that Brits are taking advantage of the increasing affordability of these destinations.

“But many British expats are moving their money and their homes back to the UK from Europe as they can no longer afford to live in Europe and can currently take advantage of the strength of the euro when converting their money back to pounds.”

British expats in Europe and America are struggling to stretch their income to meet their needs as the cost of living abroad rockets on the back of the sterling slump but Canada’s attractiveness as a viable, affordable destination remains high.

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