Nothing illustrates more clearly the rise and fall of foreign home ownership in France than the currency exchange transactions and mortgage applications from foreigners looking to buy a home a France. And, although the property market in France has slowed during the economic crisis, France is still the top foreign buyer’s property hotspot according to all of the main financial organizations.
For example, HIFEX, the currency exchange specialist has recently published its Property Hotspots Report which puts France at the top of the list of overseas markets with 23% of potential buyers looking for a property to purchase in France with many believing that now is a good time to pick up a bargain.
The report, which reveals the top destinations for property ownership abroad, showed that buyers remain undeterred by the economic uncertainty in the Euro-zone. It also revealed that they have not been discouraged from buying property in France by the tax hikes that were introduced by the French government following the election of President Hollande. “With an abundance of low-cost airline routes, more tourists than any other country in the world, easy access and the great choice France offers for both snow and sun lovers, it’s easy to see why France remains a favourite with British buyers and regularly tops quality of life polls,” comments HIFEX director Mark Bodega. “In troubled times owners and investors seek safe havens, and they simply don’t come more secure or enjoyable than France.”
The Overseas Guides Company (OGC) saw an increase of over 40% in overseas property enquiries in 2012 with France continuing to be the most popular destination. France firmly secured its position as the UK’s favourite place to purchase a home overseas, attracting the largest share of enquiries for each quarter last year, according to the data provided by OGC. The country ended the year strongly by recording a higher level of interest during October, November and December – traditionally a quieter period – than in both the first and second quarters of 2012.
Richard Way, editor of OGC commented: “Interest in France surged in the summer months and then never really fizzled out….Prices are deflated in most popular European destinations, but France appears particularly good value for money at the moment, given the numerous pretty character homes available there for very attractive prices. Village homes are particularly affordable and sought after.”
Research by overseas mortgage specialist, Conti, shows that the stable nature of the French property market and a good quality of life are the main reasons why buyers are attracted to French property. Clare Nessling of Conti comments: “Buyers have increasingly been sticking to locations they know and trust.”
Most Francophiles know only too well that France offers all sorts of lifestyle advantages but it is reassuring to know that the financial experts also believe that France is a good bet.