Who is buying which property and where in France?
Expats Radio interviews Suzanne Pearce from Suzanne in France Estate Agency. Who is buying what in France? The number of British buyers in France peaked in about 2006/2007 and although they are still major players in the French property market there are certainly less around now. There is, however, increased interest from Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, America, South Africa and the Far East. Some areas remain just as popular – the Alps, Poitou-Charentes and the Côte d’Azur for example.
The properties that overseas clients are now buying has changed over the last few years. There is much less interest in tumbledown barns and ruins now – there are plenty of unfinished projects on the market and purchasers are beginning to understand how complicated it can be to project manage a renovation from a distance in terms of organisation, time and expense.
House prices in France increased slightly in 2010 and 2011 – figures seem to vary according to the source. Safe to say though that the properties coming on to the market now at the right price are likely to be the ones that sell. Unfortunately there are still Vendors who insist that their property is worth more than current market conditions dictate and those are the ones which remain on the market longer. This can create a view of a falling market when they are obliged to take a much lower (realistic) offer for their houses. At the beginning of 2011 it was noticeable that French clients were becoming increasingly interested in purchasing properties owned by British vendors. The British vendor, in many cases, is more likely to take a significant drop in their asking price compared with their French counterparts. Fluctuating exchange rates certainly helped their decision making in early 2011 together with the changes in laws effecting Capital Gains Tax which came into force on 1st February 2012.
So, once you have decided to move to France or invest in property in France, where do you start? The obvious starting place now is the internet. Many a happy hour can be spent looking at fabulous houses on various websites and dreaming about your holidays or your new life. Properties can be advertised by private individuals, Notaires (Solicitors), a UK based agent or introducer, property portals and Immobiliers (Estate Agents). There are also an increasing number of Property Finders. But nothing is better than coming over to France and getting a feel for the area you are interested in.
Before you book your ferry and hotel just check! Check with the Agent that the property is still available. Fix an appointment – very often Agencies and Notaires are closed on a Monday. Viewings are often not possible if you turn up without an appointment or on a Saturday, Bank Holiday or in the traditional French summer holidays. Next time I will be talking about why now is a good time to buy a property in France. See you soon!
If you have questions, you can also contact Suzanne or Expatsradio.com at: firstname.lastname@example.org