• France's news in English
Foreign buyers shun French property market
Brits still dominate the foreign property market in France. Photo: AFP

Foreign buyers shun French property market

Oliver Gee · 25 Jan 2016, 13:25

Published: 25 Jan 2016 13:25 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Non-resident foreign buyers only snapped up 1 percent of French properties that were sold last year, figures that have dropped almost threefold over the last ten years.
A fresh French property market report from Les Notaires has found that the proportion of non-resident foreign buyers has fallen sharply in France. 
After a peak of 2.8 percent in 2006-2007, the figure dropped to 1.4 percent in 2014 and then down to 1 percent last year. 
The report noted that foreign buyers were most represented by those from the UK - by far. In fact, British buyers made up 32.6 percent of the total non-resident buyers in France last year.
They were especially house-hungry in central and western France, as shown in the map below. In these areas British buyers made up between 70 and 80 percent of foreign buyers.
The next most common nationality was Italian, at 15.3 percent, followed by Belgium at 11.1 percent. 
Les Notaires noted the percentage of British buyers has dropped massively over the last ten years.
In the graph below, the percentage of buyers from the UK dropped 17 points from 44 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2015. The graph only measures the four biggest buyers - those from the UK, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland.  
Despite this, the Brits have still outnumbered other nationalities the whole time. 
Elsewhere in France, the only region where the national averages differ notably is in the Greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, where the main nationalities represented are both different and more diversified than in other regions.
When it came to foreigners, homes in Paris last year were most popular with Italians (at 20 percent), followed by Americans and Brits (at 8 and 7 percent respectively). Next it was Algerians (6 percent) and Moroccans (4 percent).
Despite the survey's figures the financial climate for foreigners, or at least Brits, to buy a house in France remains positive.
A combination of a strong pound and a drop in house prices in parts of France means that there are some real bargains out there for property hunters.
"All the stars and planets are aligned to give customers a good base to buy from," Heather Byrne, Regional Manager at estate agents Leggett Immobilier for the Rhône-Alps told The Local recently.
She says that home prices are at their lowest since the 2008 crisis and that it's the best exchange rate in recent memory. 
Story continues below…
According to Leggett, the average UK buyer of French Alpine property spends around £290,000 - this time last year that would have bought you €342,000, but today it would fetch €390,000.
But it's not just about the favourable exchange rate.
"On top of that, French mortgage rates are also at an all-time low. It's the same as in the UK, the government wants the markets to be opened up and for people to keep selling to generate movement across the economy," Byrne told The Local.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available