New figures have revealed that the French property market continues to go from strength to strength, with British buyers playing an increasingly important role.
The January 2018 French Property Market Report from Notaires de France reveals that transaction volumes and sale prices are both still rising, with the number of transactions in the year to October 2017 reaching an all-time high of 958,000.
The Notaires’ report makes clear that the current peak is not indicative of a bubble. The market is stable, with low interest rates setting the scene for moderate price rises. Growth is expected to continue into 2018, peaking at some point this year while still leaving a healthy market.
The air of positivity in relation to French property is not just being felt in France. Across the Channel, British buyers are well past their Brexit-related wobbles and are back on track with buying French property. British buyers now account for 14% of non-resident foreign buyers in France (based on data for Provence/Côte d’Azur/Corsica), up from 9% in 2009.
While Italian buyers still make up the largest group of non-resident foreign buyers, at 20%, their share of the market has dropped considerably from the 49% they accounted for back in 2009. British and Scandinavian buyers come joint second in terms of foreign ownership, at 14% each, with the Scandinavian cohort increasing marginally faster than the British one (up 7% and 5% respectively between 2009 and 2016).
The fact that British buyers have overcome their Brexit nerves is also shown in the types of properties that they are seeking in France.
Premium French property agents FrenchEntree, has observed Brits’ growing confidence – and budgets – over the past 12 months. The firm has been tracking the average British budget, which has now risen to €310,000, up from €277,000 to this time last year.
“‘Brexit had an initial impact on British buyers looking for a second home in France, though those looking to relocate forged ahead regardless. Buyers of second homes or investments have since been reassured by the stabilising pound and the buoyant French market.”
“‘In light of the active market and the UK’s impending exit from the EU, buyers have certainly developed a greater sense of urgency. Our clients are finding that prioritising a viewing trip is key, before their ideal properties sell.”
Fleur Buckley, Property Services Manager, FrenchEntree
FrenchEntrée’s findings in relation to increasing British budgets are echoed by the figures from Notaires de France. That body’s latest report shows that some significant budget increases – from British as well as other buyers. Buyers are now paying an average of 8% more for older houses in Bordeaux, 9.5% more in Tours and 8.9% more in Montpellier. The average budgets have increased to €310,000, €230,000 and €312,300 in the three cities respectively.
British buyers now account for 33% of the purchases of the most expensive properties in France. By way of comparison, Scandinavian buyers account for 35%. Despite the similar percentages, the two groups differ somewhat in their requirements. According to FrenchEntrée, the average Brit has a budget of €310,000 and is looking for property the in Brittany, Languedoc and the Dordogne.
Meanwhile, the average Scandinavian buyer is happy to spend €528,000, focusing the property hunt on Provence and Côte d’Azur. The rise of both buyer groups is good news for the French property market, as confirmed by the latest date both from Notaires de France and from FrenchEntrée.
Properties on the market
In Bordeaux, this chateau set on 27 hectares is more than enough to tempt any buyer. Admittedly the €1,590,000 price tag isn’t cheap but given the stunning 19th century stone chateau covers some 325 m2 with a further 148m2 available to convert with wine shed, vines in good order and a 1.37 hectare park with mature trees, this property offers real bang for your buck (or euro).
Meanwhile, property hunters in Tours will be delighted by this elegant manor house in Directoire style. Available for €1,355,000, this impressive detached property offers nine bedrooms, sitting room and library as well as attic space perfect for conversion. Hidden in the middle of a haven of greenery thanks to a charming park composed by ornamental trees of several different species, this really is a gem.
Over in Montpellier, this village house with garden terrace, renovated by an architect who has wonderfully preserved the cachet of the old whilst offering a modern lifestyle is sure to appeal to any buyer. Available for €770,000, the house offers three generous bedrooms along with open plan kitchen leading onto the garden terrace, a study, garage, workshop and independent studio.
And for those Brits who really aren’t phased by Brexit when it comes to their budget, this exceptional house on Ile de Re comes in at a cool €2.6 million. With five bedrooms and its own pool, the property offers a superior standard of living in a sought-after location. In fact, transactions are up 29% in the Charente-Maritime (which the island belongs to), according to FrenchEntrée, making it one of the hottest property prospects in France right now.