Moving to France: Buying French Property

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Moving to France: Buying French Property
Moving to France: Buying French Property

Buying a property in France can be a massive commitment, especially in times of Brexit uncertainty. However, if you make the right decision, the rewards will be plenty for you and your family. This is what you need to know about the property market.

A robust property market

Unlike other countries that have been hit by the global economic crisis, France has managed to retain a healthy property market, attracting international investors, with a stable year-on-year price growth.

According to online news outlet for expats, Expatica, “in the last quarter of 2017, prices increased by 3.3% year-on-year, with older apartments (4.5%) leading the charge. The biggest increases came in Paris, where second-hand properties increased in price by 5.1% in the last quarter of 2017 and 8.6% year-on-year. So far in 2018, prices have remained robust, though transaction levels actually fell slightly, with 42% of banks reporting a drop in loan applications in February 2018. France’s property market upturn since 2015 has largely been fuelled by low mortgage rates, which in February 2017 remained very low – at just 1.61% in February 2018.”

With inflation beginning to increase at a stable level in 2018 and a weak euro, foreign buyers “can get a more attractive exchange rate for their property investments and essentially pay less for a property than compared to recent years.”

Rent first, buy later

No matter where you are considering to buy, it is always beneficial to gain a better understanding of the place and what it can offer you, all year around, by renting the property first. This will help you experience the different times of year and get a clearer idea of the possible disadvantages of the property and its surroundings.

How to search for property

When you approach a realtor, or agent immobilier, you need to make sure that the company is registered and has financial guarantee, liability insurance and license by the prefecture de police. To help protect your interests, the French government has created the Conseil National de la Transaction et de la Gestion Immobilières (CNTGI) in 2014, to maintain ethical practices and regulations for real estate agents.  Once you found the right realtor for you, you will sign a bon de visite, which will demonstrate that you have viewed specific properties.

Location, location, location

France has 21 regions, so you will see variations in prices and different properties. Property prices are usually determined by location.

Paris and other big cities are more expensive, as they offer more employment opportunities and a more cosmopolitan lifestyle with a variety of entertainment and cultural events to choose from. Less expensive are properties in the city suburbs and small towns, but beware, wine growing regions, naturally, are pricey. So the price will increase with such luxuries as swimming pools, vineyards and romantic barns. If you are dreaming of that scenic stone house in the countryside, with vines climbing on the walls, then this will be cheaper than a very modern building with all the relative conveniences. According to Expatica, the eastern side of France has seen some important price falls, but possibly prices will start rising again slowly.

Costs to consider

Finally, it would be good to bear in mind, that there are extra costs beyond the property price that you will personally have to settle. As property agents French Connections warn, “Having found your ideal French property at what seems like a very reasonable price, it can come as a bit of a shock to those used to the UK market that the buyer may have to pay the agency fees and is responsible for all the legal fees – this can make your French house up to 20% more expensive than you first thought.”

Once you know what is included in the asking price and other costs you will need to pay, you might be interested in getting a tailored solution for transferring your funds from the UK. Brexit uncertainty and a volatile pound can affect your finances significantly. Universal Partners FX can offer invaluable support and guide you through the process, recommending the most optimal time to transfer and exchange your currency, giving you peace of mind. Get in touch with UPFX now and find out how much you will save through a foreign exchange broker.