Survey Highlights Financial Woes For UK Expats In Europe

By Editorial 16 September, 2013

Research by the UK Post Office paints a gloomy picture for British expats in Europe, with increasing living expenses and falling property prices, and large amounts of money wasted in avoidable bank transfer fees.

The Post Office Expat Payments Index surveyed the views of 730 members of for the second time, and found that expats were less confident than they were a year ago. According to the report, 82.2 percent of respondents in Europe said that their lifestyle had been affected by price rises, and 40 percent said that overall living costs had increased by more than 10 percent. Food and household bills were the biggest concern, although a quarter of respondents in France referred to the cost of fuel.

Particularly high rises were reported in Portugal and Greece, and the Post Office says that the Index "picked up a deteriorating situation." Many respondents in Portugal indicated that the cost of household essentials had risen by more than 20 percent; three in ten reported this for Greece, while 17.4 percent of respondents reported a 30 percent rise.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of homeowner respondents reported a fall in the value of their home, up from 40 percent last year. Over a quarter reported a 10 percent drop over the past year, and slightly more than one in ten reported falling value in excess of 20 percent. However, these figures rise dramatically for Spain, with 70 percent of respondents reporting falling values. More than a quarter of respondents in Spain believed their property had shrunk in value by 25 percent, and 18.5 percent judged that their homes were now worth 30 percent less.

John Willcock, Head of Post Office Transactional Services, observed: "While house prices are reportedly on the rise in the UK, property values are still falling overseas particularly in the Eurozone. Rising prices for basic household essentials are leaving little money for extras like eating out and this year's index reveals that many more people are planning cutbacks in order to keep their heads above water."

However, he also noted that many expats were wasting money on bank transfer charges that could be avoided. According to the Index, UK expats are spending GBP228m on bank transfers despite the availability of fee-free international payments providers such as the Post Office. The amount spent in charges has been made greater by expats transferring smaller amounts in the hope that exchange rates will improve.

Willcock added: "Depending which bank they use and how much they transfer, they could lose hundreds of pounds that could help offset the increased price of food, motoring and household necessities."

Tags: Portugal | Fees | Food | France | Greece | Spain | Expats | Investment | Property Investment | Welfare | Europe | Invest | Lifestyle | Investment | Lifestyle |


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