Home Hunts, a buyer’s agent in France, is experiencing a surge in the number of enquiries from British buyers looking to buy property in France.
The reason for this is the result of a document released by the European Commission on 8 December, the same day that Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker announced a last-minute agreement on the on the Article 50 negotiations over Brexit.
Much to the relief of many residing in the UK and the EU, the document to the European Council stated that: “Union citizens and United Kingdom nationals, as well as their respective family members, can continue to live, work or study as they currently do under the same conditions as under Union law, benefiting from the full application of the prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of nationality.”
UK citizens who move to France before Brexit day (29 March 2019) will have the right to stay in that country.
Boost in number of British buyers seeking French property
“Over the past fortnight we have seen a huge increase in enquiries from British homeowners in the UK looking to buy a home in France compared to the previous weeks,” explains Tim. “We have had more than 250 requests over the last fortnight from the UK and they continue to come in. This is unheard of for mid-December.”
Tim says that the surge in enquiries have been from three main groups: families looking to relocate and find a property with income, UK retirees who are looking to relocate to France permanently, and a wide range of enquiries from UK clients looking to buy a holiday home so they have a base here.
Riviera and the Alps so far have been most popular for those looking for holiday home. Dordogne, Languedoc and Provence for those looking to live permanently, with a few on the Riviera too. “Paris has also seen a spike over this past week,” adds Tim.
Property market benefits from “Macron effect”
Despite the recent political uncertainty and fears surrounding Brexit, the “Macron effect” – a name given to the positive outcome and confidence in France following the French President’s election – had enhanced the recovery of France’s property market. So much so that it returned to levels that it peaked at just before the financial crisis in Europe in 2006.
“Macron committed to reducing taxes for property owners and simplifying the fiscal framework,” says Tim. The property market was already recovering as we saw average house prices rise across France by 1.7% in 2016 – and as much as 11% in Bordeaux and 8% in parts of Provence, and Parisian apartments increased by 4%.”
Yet this renewed confidence, bolstered by the joint agreement, has seen levels surge to new heights.
Tourists favour the French Riviera and Paris
Eurostat data shows that the Mediterranean coastline is already the most popular tourist destination in France and one of Europe’s leading destinations. On the Riviera, many young professionals and Londoners are looking to Nice for lock-up-and-go apartments, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
Valbonne, a pretty medieval town, and the surrounding areas (such as Roquefort, Opio and Le Rouret) are also attracting an increasing number of overseas buyers.
The Île-de-France is proven to be in Europe’s top five destinations. The Paris region clocked up 76.8 million nights from tourists and attracted around 35 million tourists in 2017. Apartments near to Monceau park in the 8th arrondissement are of particular interest. The 6th and 7th arrondissements are also extremely popular.
Snow-capped French Alps are hot property
With 55 million visitors a year, the French Alps are another of France’s most widely-visited locations. Chamonix, one of the oldest ski resorts in France, continues to be one of the top destinations for holiday makers and overseas buyers. Megève, a resort conceived by the Rothschilds in the 1920s to rival those in Switzerland, is also highly sought after as there has been much development in the resort. With the Rothschild group investing €100 million in a new Four Seasons hotel in Megève, which will feature the biggest spa in the French Alps, property here is demand.
Buyers to benefit from wealth tax changes
A favourable change to the wealth tax (which reduces residents’ tax liability), effective from 1 January 2018, is also having an impact.
“Many wealthy clients had ruled out the idea of living in France purely because of the idea of paying this annual tax on the assets that they have spent their whole lives working for,” says Tim. He adds that the planned changes will have a big impact on the market, particularly for retirees who have dreamt about ‘the good life’ in France, as well as entrepreneurs, business owners and anyone looking to relocate.
“With house prices in France at attractive levels and the banks offering low interest rates, overall it is a sensible time to invest in a property in France,” says Tim. “With the renewed confidence from British buyers that Brexit won’t affect their enjoyment of a holiday home or new life in France, it’s no wonder we’ve seen such a hike in calls.”
If you are looking to buy property in France, you can search online at www.home-hunts.com, but to speak to a consultant about your specific criteria, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.