Britons still topping Foreign Buyers in France

New research by BNP Paribas shows that Britons still top the numbers of foreign buyers in France, and more Britons are looking to make France their permanent home as the Brexit deadline approaches.

Sales to British buyers already resident in France increased by 17.2% last year. In contrast there was a 18% drop in British buying holiday homes there, suggesting a shift in buying motivations since Brexit. The Brits remain in first place with 25.9% of transactions in 2017, followed by Belgians with 18.4%, followed by the Swiss 8.1% and Germans 7%.

Tim Swannie, co-founder and Director of luxury buying agents Home Hunts, with over 30 agents across France, gives his views on these new findings:

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that there was an increase in buyers last year from Brits already resident in France. There has never been a better time to buy, prices are very interesting and are starting to increase in most areas, plus the banks are offering some good interest rates for mortgages. They are buying now before prices increase too much.”

“We see a lot of clients looking for properties which can also provide an income, typically this would be a B&B or gite business, or perhaps a property with outbuildings, where the owners can hold weddings or parties, yoga retreats etc.”

“Apart from that, we also get a lot of interest from families who have relocated to work here (particularly Paris, French Alps close to Geneva and the Riviera) and are looking for apartments or villas in residential areas within easy commuting distance. “

Many Brits have just got sick and tired of the back and forth over Brexit. Buyers who put things on hold in 2016 have decided it is now or never. Whether they are looking to relocate or just wish to buy a holiday home, there seems to be quite a push to do so before March next year when the UK will effectively leave the EU …IF this ever happens.”

The BNP Paribas market research shows that non-resident British nationals are investing primarily in Rhône-Alpes (15.4%), then Aquitaine (13%) and in the Limousin region (10.7%). On average, the  transaction amount made by British non-residents is highest in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (€741K), then in Ile-de-France (€526K) and Rhône-Alpes (€439K).

Swannie says: “We have seen an increase in demand from Brits who are resident in France looking for properties in the south and south west. For us, the vast majority of buyers in Paris and the Alps are to non-residents.”

Following the Brexit vote in June 2016, we found the enquiries from Brits dried up almost overnight and remained that way for around six months or so. Everyone panicked, and everything seemed so uncertain. This changed around March last year however, when suddenly we were getting more enquiries from the UK and in May 2017, when President Macron was elected, this boosted the market even more. The second half of last year was very busy for us with British clients (among many other nationalities of course) and this year even more so.”

“We also work with a lot of clients from outside the EU, particularly the US, Middle East and China for example. There are no restrictions for them to buy a French property, different countries have different requirements in terms of visas but generally, this is all very straight forward. For Brits, even in the worst-case scenario, if we ended up with a no-deal Brexit, people will not be stopped from coming to visit their French properties. There will be some slightly longer delays at airports and ferry terminals I’m sure and there could be a need to fill out a document each year to allow travel but that would be all. Most UK buyers have started to realise this and are not allowing this whole Brexit mess to hold them back.”

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About Home Hunts:

Home Hunts specialise in finding luxury homes and investment properties throughout France, Monaco, Geneva, London and New York.  Home Hunts is a leading buyers’ agent, whose role is to find the hidden gems that the property market has to offer.  The team collaborates with all of the best estate agents, notaires, developers and private sellers to provide the ultimate selection of properties in a desired area.  Home Hunts work closely with their clients, offering unbiased advice and support throughout the entire buying process and beyond.

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