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Why France’s second home market is booming – despite Brexit

France has long been a favoured destination for people looking to buy a second home, and the market shows no sign of slowing down, according to one international estate agent.

Why France's second home market is booming - despite Brexit
Fancy a modest little place on the French Riviera? Photo: AFP

Estate agent Knight Frank, which specialises in second homes, says 2019 is on course to be its best year ever in France with more buyers than ever taking the chance to snap up a place in France.


Paris is an increasingly popular destination to buy property, as well as to visit. Photo: AFP

British buyers now make up just one in five of their purchasers in France, down from three in five in 2014, and Belgian, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern buyers have filled the gap, along with the French themselves looking for a second home by the sea or in the countryside to escape city life. 

The agent added that due to the weak pound and Brexit uncertainty they had been expecting more British people to sell up, but that has not proved to be the case.

The favoured destinations for second homes remain The French Riviera, Provence, south west France, the French Alps and Paris and in some of the second home hotspots the prices can be eye-watering.

Topping the list was Sean-Jean-Cap-Ferrat where a detached property will set you back €35,000 per square metre. Riviera destinations feature heavily in the most expensive locations with Antibes, Cannes and St Tropez all coming in at more than €20,000 per square metre, along with popular ski resort Courchevel. Next to that Paris – a mere €19,000 per square metre for a 'prime' property – looks positively cheap.

In Paris two major development projects – the extension of the Metro and RER lines and redevelopment ahead of the Olympics – are driving investment and two neighborhoods in particular are being heavily hyped as the new 'hip' locations – South Pigalle in the 18th arrondissement, which is being rebranded as SoPi and the 13th arrondissement around the new Station F tech workspace development.

READ ALSO How much time will British second home owners be able to stay in France after Brexit?

A detached property in Courchevel costs an average of €26,000 per square metre. Photo: AFP

In Provence the extension of the Eurostar to Avignon has made it much more accessible, particularly to Belgians and British people, while Marseille airport is set for a €250 million upgrade.

In the Alps the big name ski resorts remain popular destinations for second homes and the increasing movement from businesses in the region into spas and wellness centres means that the area offers a more year-round experience. Perhaps boosted by this, sales of properties in the Haute-Savoie département increased 7.2 percent over the last year.


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EXPLAINED: France’s new rules for advertising rental properties

France is introducing new rules for private landlords from July 1st. Anyone who wants to publish a property listing will need to include certain information that wasn't required before.

EXPLAINED: France's new rules for advertising rental properties

If you are a private landlord and have a property that you want to advertise on the rental market in France, the rules on what information you need to include on the listing have been pretty vague – up until now. 

But an official ruling means that from July 1st that changes. From this date onwards, your advertisement must contain the following information:

  • Rental costs 

Monthly rental costs must be clearly mentioned on your listing. 

READ MORE Nine things to expect when renting an apartment in France

  • Charges

You must include information on any charges that the tenant will incur and information on how these charges can be paid. These charges can include anything from heating costs, to a concierge service. If you want to do an official ‘état des lieux’ or inventory of the property, this costs money. If you want the tenant to cover the cost, you must mention this on the advertisement (as well as the amount). 

READ MORE The vital French vocab for renting property

  • Rent control information

If your property is in an area subject to rent control, you must include the following text in your listing: “zone soumise à encadrement des loyers“.  You must specify the minimum and maximum rental price in your area. 

You can find out if your property is in such a zone by using this simulator

  • Other  

You must include information the the deposit that will be required. You must list the commune or arrondissement where the property is located. You must also provide the surface area of the property as well as information on whether it is furnished or unfurnished. 

READ MORE Renting furnished accommodation in France: What should your landlord provide?

The above information must appear on any advertisement – no matter what form that advertisement takes.