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May 2016

Buying Properties in the Caribbean

Published: Thursday 12 May 2016

The overwhelming majority of the Caribbean islands use the US dollar as a local currency or have their own currency linked to American currency in some way. If the US dollar is strong, your Caribbean property will cost more and if the dollar is weak, property prices become more palatable. Currently the exchange rate versus the Pound is extremely volatile due to a number of factors. Get the timing of your transactions right though and your dream property could be surprisingly affordable.

By comparison with most other countries, the UK economy is doing rather well. Were it not for the advent of
the EU membership referendum, Sterling would undoubtedly be much stronger than it is. At the same time,
where the US Federal Reserve had appeared to have gone soft on interest rate rises, they have now shown a
renewed belief in raising US interest rates and that is always positive for a currency.

Hence the Sterling – US Dollar exchange rate (and therefore those of the Caribbean countries) is in a very
volatile pattern. This can be seen negatively or as an opportunity. For an example, The Sterling- US Dollar
exchange rate started the year at $1.48 and fell to $1.38 by the end of February as the EU referendum
became more of a reality. The current range is $1.41 to $1.49. That 5.6% variation is worth £14,000 on a
£250,000 property purchase. So, getting the timing right on your transactions is crucial. Thankfully, as these
currencies are intrinsicly linked to the USD, it is possible to follow the trends very easily.


For Buyers

There is an upward trend in place that started in February. It is therefore not to be too heavily relied upon
but it does show the $1.47 level is a good short/medium term USD buying opportunity and that is validated
by this level being a 50% Fibonacci retracement level. If that holds, the Pound could fall back to $1.41
very easily.

For Sellers

May USD sellers have put protecting stop-loss orders in the market to guarantee no worse than $1.48. If that level breaks, there is scope for a rally to $1.50 as the next resistance level. If $1.48 holds, then another visit to $1.41 is likely and perhaps even a visit to $1.38; the low of the year. However, with the EU vote being the driving factor here, lower levels are possible.