Brits Buy French Property Despite Weak Pound

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Buying property in France
Buying property in France

Despite Brexit, British buyers are investing in French property, particularly in the Dordogne region in the south west of France, according to a Financial Times article.

As a result of the frequent falls in the pound’s value since the UK’s vote to leave the EU, many Brits have decided to buy French houses in the Dordogne, making it so popular that it has been jokingly named “Dordogneshire.” British buyers continue to be interested in French property and they make up “59 per cent of non-resident transactions in the Dordogne, according to the Notaires de France, significantly ahead of Belgians (17 per cent) and Dutch (14 per cent).” 

Dordogne: home away from home

Relatively affordable homes, well-preserved heritage buildings and a beautiful UNESCO-protected landscape are some of the reasons that Dordogne is such an attractive place.

Dordogne is home to the famous Lascaux caves which are a UNESCO world heritage site. The caves include wall paintings with large animals, estimated at around 17,000 years. More recently, the Dordogne was the set for the film Chocolat (2000). Directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp, the movie was partly shot in the village of Beynac-et-Cazenac, on the Dordogne River. It is hard to resist the charm of beautiful old villages, surrounded by dramatic views of the countryside. 

With local initiatives to protect years’ old architectural treasures, Brits are buying their own share of history. Dotted with chateaux, but considered reasonably priced to live in, the Dordogne is famous for its warm climate and relaxed lifestyle. The British community numbers 7,300 expats and real estate agents confirm the area’s popularity, as sales have consistently been increasing, with “seven château sales going through, ranging from €600,000 for a complete renovation project to €4.27m for an 18th-century château set in a 26ha park.” According to French estate agents, Leggett Immobilier, 142 sales in the Dordogne last year were to British buyers. This made 2018 the best year since 2014, while sales to Brits continue to increase, being up “38 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.” Leggett added that Brits were “trying to get to France before Brexit happens.” 

Prices

House prices can range from around €230,000 for a family home and go up to €1m and €5m for a 16th-century château or an 18th-century estate set in 10 hectares, respectively. Leggett explains that an “average property price is €1,362 per sq m compared with a national average of €2,471 per sq m.” The article does underline that wealthy foreign buyers who “have their finances in different currencies and they are lifestyle buyers,” are usually determined to make their investment, especially when they are “looking for a change, a few years off retirement.” Cash buyers have the advantage of negotiating the price as “For the seller, it’s much less risky to engage with a cash buyer so they are usually more willing to be flexible on price.”

Dordogne poses a unique opportunity for some Brits to own a lovely historical part of France, and Brexit is not a threat to making their dream come true. So, if you are determined to get your own dream home and are in love with a rural part of the world that holds unparalleled beauty, then Brexit cannot spoil your plans. Universal Partners FX can help you make this dream a reality by offering you access to competitive exchange rates and tailoring solutions to your international money transfers. Get in touch with them today and find out how much you can save on your property.