Florida real estate, currency & the overseas buyer

A unique combination of a buyers market in Florida and the weak US dollar makes an irresistible combination for overseas property buyers considering buying real estate in Florida. Moneycorp Foreign Currency specialsts report a surge in foreign exchange enquiries from savvy US property investors, as the Pound leaps to a 14 year high against the Dollar.  Florida realtors report that Florida real estate is in demand from US and international buyers.
Ernie Harpster of Remax New Dimensions Realty Tampa  comments about real estate in Tampa Florida ‘It is a buyers market, but our pricing seems to have levelled out, as buyers are taking advantage of all the deals available, and the interest rates are still historically very good. Florida has a very strong rental market, with professional property managers finding it easy to locate renters. We have very low unemployment rate approximately 3.5%, and a continued influx of people moving to Tampa, approximate figures are around 7000 people per month which is consistent with the average growth experienced during the last 5 years; I think many of the people in the international markets, like the fact Tampa is 1 hour from Disney World, and only 50 min. to Clearwater beach, ranked Florida’s 3rd best beach on the warm gulf of Mexico side of Florida.
Many investors are taking advantage of the weak dollar by placing forward contracts to exchange currency at current rates, but crucially for delivery at a later date. Rates can be fixed for up to two years in advance which is long enough to cover almost all property purchases from start to finish. With the widely predicted slump in US house prices, they stand to save up to 30 per cent on current prices. 
Nick Bull from Moneycorp said: “As we reach the landmark two dollar pound this week, Moneycorp has already seen a significant increase in the number of people selling pounds sterling and buying US dollars. With the exchange rate at a 14 year high it’s no surprise that many investors are selling Sterling and buy Dollars. 
Bull adds: “Many people believe the time is right to lock into these rates by placing forward contracts with Moneycorp. Clients are taking this opportunity to forward planning their purchase to take advantage of the market movements.”
Exchange rates have been driven higher in recent months by a strengthening Pound on the back of increased UK interest rates. Further interest rate hikes to kerb inflation could lead to an even more favourable GBP/USD exchange rate.
Favourable exchange rates can save people thousands of pounds on their overseas property purchase. In January 2006, £150,000 would have bought as little as $257,850, but at 2 dollars to the pound, the same amount would have purchased $300,000 – some $42,150 more.
A forward contract with Moneycorp allows clients to lock into a favourable exchange rate and protect themselves from adverse currency movements. Their money will then be delivered at a time of their choosing, within the next two years.

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