The news isn’t good.
Every day there seems to be a fresh round of reports lamenting the latest economic and financial woes. edges that for years have been recording multi-billion dollar profits are struggling for life. Stock markets are volatile. The US, Japan and European Union are all thought to be on the brink of recession. Unemployment rates are climbing.
Inflation is making a reappearance across the world. Food, energy bill and gas price increases have grabbed the headlines, but they also have a knock-on effect on other goods and sets. Life is getting much more expensive.
Meanwhile, the housing markets – the dominant source of savings and wealth for many people – are plummeting.
In the US, house prices are reportedly falling at an annual rate of 4.5% on average, the first national decline since the 1930s. The forecast is that figure will be at the minimum 10% by next year. And the situation is worse in places such as Southern California and Florida. Meanwhile, the number of foreclosures continues to soar, and has now surpassed the million mark.
And in the UK, figures from the Halifax and Nationwide show that over the last year prices have gone from a 12% year-on-year rise to an 8% drop.
So with life at home getting so tough, is this a good time to be moving oversea?
Recent years have seen a record number of people emigrating. Part of that it seems has been fuelled by the domestic character booms.
For some people it meant they couldn’t provide to get on the ladder and so they looked for cheaper destinations oversea.
For others already on the character rungs it was a chance to cash in the equity their houses had generated and use it to buy in other places, sometimes ending up mortgage free in their new destination as a consequence.
But with house prices now tanking – and at all event equity you had getting progressively squeezed as a consequence – that option is getting less and less viable. Indeed, instead of sitting on a nest egg, more and more homeowners are now sitting on negative equity. And if prices continue to fall, as seems likely for the foreseeable future, that situation – and the number of repossessions – will only get worse.
In these uncertain times then, when many people are worried about losing their jobs, their living costs are soaring, and their savings – whether in character or the stock market – are diminishing, the natural reaction may be to tighten your belt and wait it out. Put off those dreams of moving oversea for another, sunnier day.
But truly this could be a great time to move.
for example, if you currently live in the UK and want to move to the States:
a) The number of foreclosures and extensive character price slump average there are some incredible deals to be had. It’s no exaggeration to say you could end up with a house twice as big for half the price of your current one.
b) The ineffective dollar method your pounds will go much further, making it already cheaper.
By contrast, for US citizens the dollar’s slide method it has become comparatively more expensive, if you are converting assets, to come to Europe.
Nevertheless, the dollar’s depreciation has been long overdue. And who’s to say it won’t fall further in the years ahead if the States’ export/import imbalance continues? Perhaps now then is as good a chance as you’re going to get to sell up and move.
In addition, it’s worth bearing in mind that the housing market in many parts of Europe is also experiencing.
In the area of northern Spain where I live there is nearly no movement at all. And this is one of the most buoyant economic regions in the whole country!
in other places in Spain past overzealous development method there is a surplus of housing stock. associate that with ineffective need and the consequence is prices heading south. Again, as long as you do some careful research, there are deals to be had for those wanting to make the trade for a life oversea.
And let’s not forget the cost of living differential for US citizens (and indeed those from throughout the developed world) that nevertheless exists from looking south of the border to Central and South America. Surely another economically-viable – and lifestyle enriching – option.
What’s more, with the trends towards globalization, interconnectedness by the internet and telecommunications improvements, it is easier than ever to work from wherever you want to be.
So maybe there is a silver lining to the current economic mess, for those that want to find it.