Reports show the number of Brits with second homes in France dropping for the first time in a decade. However, there are many reasons to buy property in France now. In fact, many of those once-owning holiday homes have decided to jump right in and are living here as permanent residents. Perhaps accelerated by the COVID pandemic, embracing the “life is too short” philosophy.
If you’re looking to find your dream home at a bargain price, then now really is your chance. Get looking for your perfect home, and start living the life in France that you’ve always imagined!
The French economy
Despite the cost of living crisis, it’s not all bad news for France. According to data published by the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) in July, the French economy grew by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2023. A much better result than the predicted 0.1%. Although, it was formally announced that French property prices started to fall during the first quarter of this year.
The Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier predicts that the price of properties in France will fall by as much as 5%, during the coming year. With larger cities being most significantly affected. For those looking to grab a bargain, this is one of the best reasons to buy property in France now. Fewer people buying also reduces competition for properties. Which, when you have your heart set on that *one*, can only be an advantage. However, estate agents have reported that though buyer numbers have dropped, those looking are both focused and serious in their search.
Mortgages and taxes in France
French banks and financial institutions have very much tightened on lending. In a landscape with fewer people able to purchase as a result, demand is being driven down and in consequence, prices are decreasing. If you are in the fortunate position of being a cash buyer, this is another of the great reasons to buy property in France now. With preference being shown to those in that position, as well as reduced competition.
The French government’s position of ensuring higher taxes are applied on second residences has meant fewer domestic buyers are buying second homes, thus reducing competition for property buyers. This clearly impacts Brits buying holiday homes and may explain the conversion of many secondary residences into primary ones.
One of the next best reasons to buy in France now is that property here is regarded as a safe investment bet. The French housing market is one of the most stable markets in the world. Due to its high potential rental return alongside strong demand. Many buy property in France not only for themselves to enjoy, but to rent out. Whether that be long-term or seasonal property rentals. If your holiday home sits empty throughout winter, renting it out could not only help cover running costs but also keep the property “look” occupied. Thus negating the need to have someone look after it, which can obviously be costly.
According to Airbtics, the Creuse region in Nouvelle-Aquitaine offers some of the most affordable properties. In addition to some of the highest rental yields, at nearly 15%. Airbtics compiles accurate and comprehensive Airbnb analytics. According to them, the top ten most profitable cities to buy property to rent as Airbnbs include Cannes, Menton, Paris, St Tropez, Nice and Toulouse. With these cities amongst those predicted to bear the biggest brunt of falling prices, this is another of the great reasons to buy property in France now. Don’t also forget – if you are considering buying in or around Paris, France is playing host to the 2024 Olympics. So if you’re in a position to buy and have turnkey rental properties for this, it could prove a very high return opportunity on your investment.
Where to buy?
People will forever choose to buy property in the South of France. The data absolutely supports this. Claiming that whilst recently experiencing fairly modest increases in prices, the area has been proven as more resilient to peaks and troughs in the market over the last decade. This is in part due to the projected data supporting the intention of ageing people from Northern Europe planning to retire in France. Additionally, the growth of business hubs based in the South and the investment in the development of infrastructure. Including the new high-speed TGV link with Spain and the expected end of Paris having the monopoly on international flights.
However, there has recently been a strange new phenomenon reported in France that’s taken everyone by surprise: the emerging trend of reverse tourism. With increasing temperatures across the South, combined with problems created by droughts and forest fire risk, people from the South are heading North for their breaks and holidays. Following suit, buyers who originally considered buying in the South are looking further North, for similar reasons.
Hope for holiday homeowners
In spite of Brexit causing inconvenience to holiday homeowners, there is a lot of noise behind the scenes that this could change in the near future. With more MPs backing proposals to introduce a new long-term visa. This would enable second homeowners to stay at their properties longer than the currently enforced 90 days in 180.
The current favoured proposal is to introduce a five-year visa. Allowing holiday homeowners to stay up to 6 months at a time at their French Properties. Officials view this as particularly important in aiding to boost the French economy. Particularly in areas where large numbers of properties are owned by Brits. The financial impact of those people being able to spend not only their time here but also their money, is not taken lightly or underappreciated.
Last, but by no means least, living here is not for everyone, for those it suits, it can genuinely change your life. Or certainly your health.
It’s interesting how many people truly notice the impact of this complete change of lifestyle a couple of years into living here.
For me, this is exactly what I felt. Not much has changed since then. There could perhaps be no greater reason to relocate here. And this is, for me, one of the best reasons to buy property in France.
There is no underestimating living a more simple, less pressured, outdoor lifestyle. People can even see it in their physical appearance. If you don’t believe me, and you are not currently living the life you imagined elsewhere, then try it and see for yourselves.
Of course, not everyone can move as a permanent resident to France. Depending on their family or work situation. Despite Brexit, now the dust has settled and the rule changes have in fact become clearer, people are still choosing to relocate either permanently or invest in second homes here. Will you be one of them this year?
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