Navigating Currency Amidst the 2024 US and UK Elections

Originally posted on & updated on 24th May, 2024

As the US and UK prepare for national elections this year, property buyers and investors are closely monitoring potential fluctuations in currency rates. The election outcomes can significantly impact the value of the US dollar and British pound against the euro, affecting property sales both domestically and overseas, particularly in popular markets like France and Spain. In this blog post, we’ll explore the historical context, factors influencing currency rates, potential scenarios, and strategies for property buyers to navigate this period of uncertainty.

Historical Context

National elections have historically been periods of volatility for currency markets. For example, the 2016 US presidential election saw the dollar initially drop against major currencies before recovering as markets adjusted to the new administration’s economic policies. Similarly, the Brexit referendum 2016 led to a significant and sustained drop in the pound’s value. These examples illustrate how political events can create uncertainty and influence currency values.

Factors Influencing Currency Rates

Several factors can influence currency rates during election periods, including:

Political Stability and Market Sentiment

Elections often bring uncertainty, which can lead to market volatility. Investors tend to favour stable political environments, and any sign of instability can weaken a currency.

Economic Policies

Proposed economic policies, such as changes in taxation, spending, and regulation, can affect investor confidence and currency values.

International Relations and Trade Agreements

The stance of candidates on international trade and relations can influence how investors perceive the future economic landscape, affecting currency rates.

Potential Scenarios and their Impact

US Dollar vs. Euro

In the US, the election outcome could lead to various scenarios. A victory by a candidate favouring increased fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending might initially weaken the dollar due to concerns about higher deficits but could strengthen it in the long run if economic growth accelerates. Conversely, a candidate advocating for fiscal restraint and reduced government intervention might boost investor confidence, strengthening the dollar. These fluctuations will directly impact Americans looking to buy property in France and in Europe, as a stronger dollar makes European real estate more affordable while a weaker dollar does the opposite. The US dollar surged to a five-month high in April as markets adjusted their expectations for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year.

UK Sterling vs. Euro

In the UK, the election results could similarly impact the pound. A government perceived as stable and business-friendly could strengthen the pound, making overseas properties more accessible to British buyers. Conversely, political uncertainty or policies that investors view as unfavourable could weaken the pound, increasing the cost of purchasing property abroad. The impact on British buyers in France and Spain could be significant, as even small changes in the exchange rate can affect affordability and investment returns. Did you know that GBP/EUR rates moved more than 7% in 2023?

Impact on Property Sales

National Impact

Domestically, currency fluctuations can influence property markets by affecting borrowing costs, investment flows, and consumer confidence. In the US, a weaker dollar might lead to higher interest rates, impacting mortgage affordability and slowing down the property market. In the UK, a stronger pound could attract foreign investment, boosting property prices, while a weaker pound might deter overseas buyers.

Overseas Purchases

Currency fluctuations can significantly affect Americans and Britons buying property in France, Spain, and other European countries. A stronger home currency increases purchasing power, making buying more expensive properties or afford additional amenities easier. On the other hand, a weaker currency can lead to higher costs and reduced budgets.

Strategies to Protect Yourself Against Volatility

If you’re concerned about how currency volatility around the election could impact you or your business, we can help. Our experts can help create a risk management strategy based on your needs. To mitigate risks associated with currency fluctuations, property buyers should consider several strategies:

Work with Currency Exchange Specialists

These professionals can offer guidance and secure better exchange rates than traditional banks.

Use Forward Contracts

Locking in a favourable exchange rate for a future date can provide certainty and protect against adverse movements.

Consider Fixed-Rate Mortgages

These can shield buyers from interest rate volatility resulting from currency fluctuations.

Currency fluctuations loom as the US and UK approach their respective national elections this year, starting with Britain voting on Independence Day (4th July). Property buyers and investors must stay informed and consider risk management strategies. By understanding the potential impacts and preparing accordingly, they can navigate this period of uncertainty and make informed decisions about their real estate investments.

To learn how to benefit from competitive rates for your international money transfers or talk to one of our expert advisers, visit our currency page for property purchases, regular overseas payments and business payments.

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