Britons in Europe considering returning to the UK

Published:  9 Oct at 6 PM
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Although it hasn’t had much in the way of press coverage, the decision to sell up and go home is being widely discussed within the British expat community across Europe.

The discussions concern the fluctuating exchange rate, the uncertainty of the UK’s economy in the immediately post-Brexit future and the perceived value for money of UK property, as well as the likelihood of being able to survive in the UK on the measly state pension. At the present moment, the pound/euro exchange rate is hovering around 1.138, a significant 20 per cent drop from just before 2016’s Brexit referendum, and one which hasn’t gone unnoticed in expatland.

At the same time, property prices in Spain, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe have increased from admittedly low starting points, with the upswing predicted to continue. For Brit expats in these locations, selling off is likely to bring at least some capital gains, thus making re-investment in a UK property somewhat easier. One of the most disturbing issues in the discussions is the uncertainty still surrounding the rights of UK expats in EU member states. Europeans at present in the UK are to get all they need, but a grim silence or meaningless comments are all that’s forthcoming for their UK expat equivalents.

As a result, some expats are looking over their shoulders to the old days in the UK and hoping against hope the country can emerge from the next few years as a representation of its former self. Moving back with that in mind at least gives hope, but so many changes have already and will be made in the near future that disappointment seems to be par for the course. In addition, the British weather is forecast to get worse rather than better, and the fate of the NHS is anyone’s guess. However, it’s hard to imagine a Britain without rising property prices, so returnees in it for the long term may well benefit from capitals gains – taxed, of course.
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