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Britons Still Favour French Property

UK buyers are the most important group of non-resident investors in France, accounting for 34 per cent of all transactions in 2015, up 44 per cent on 2014. The figures come from a survey by the Notaires de France, BNP and Rightmove, the UK property portal.

The combined effects of sterling strength and euro weakness saw exchange rates move from €1.28 at the start of 2015 to €1.44 at one point during July. “The recovering UK economy plus the effect of continued economic stagnation in  Europe,  which has weakened the euro, have combined to give British buyers an effective discount of over 10 per cent on top of an already weak French property market, meaning there were and are bargains to be had,” said Guy Stephenson, from Offshoreonline.

Traditional areas popular with UK buyers continued to include Brittany, Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon and the midi–Pyrenees, but it was Paris and the Cote D’Azur regions (transactions up 18 per cent and 27 per cent respectively) which recorded the highest volumes of business. These areas have traditionally been popular with other nationalities, notably the Americans, Italians and Scandinavians, but this year saw an increase in interest from Lebanese buyers too.

The survey highlighted an average increase in transactions of 29 per cent, suggesting buyers are returning in strength now to the French market, after several years of weakness.

With lending rates still low by historic standards, Offshoreonline reports that ten-year fixed rate euro mortgage loans are available from 1.7 per cent, with other popular types of mortgage product including capped rates available from 2.6 per cent or lower.

French lenders have traditionally offered a wide range of euro mortgage options with variable-rate, interest-only and mixed repayment- and interest-only loans all available to encourage buyers into the market.