With Brexit being shrouded in uncertainty, many Brits are dreaming of moving abroad and buying property in the vibrant and romantic southern part of France.
Southern France and, particularly, Provence, as a Telegraph article tells us, is also the place where Vincent van Gogh produced more than 150 paintings, a place where “the lure of the Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence endures” to this day. Beautiful and magical, “an hour north-west of Marseille and 25 minutes south from the Eurostar or TGV at Avignon, there is a sophisticated array of eateries that service a well-established second-home market, where a pale-olive or dove-grey shuttered Provençal stone mas (farmhouse) is the dream.” It is not difficult to imagine the lures that have driven many of us to such a location.
Natural beauty dispels Brexit fears
Brexit anxieties, the spectre of Britain’s European identity weighing heavy on the political landscape, seem to dissipate as one imagines the French medieval villages nested amidst olive trees and pines. As an agent with Knight Frank attests: It’s a “picture-perfect cluster of medieval villages, with traditional weekly markets under plane trees, all with the backdrop of the foothills of the Alpilles, this is classic Provençal life.”
There is culture and art everywhere, with half of the buyers being wealthy Parisians and Monaco royalty, and the other half British, Swiss, Belgians and Germans. As many of us dream, a big 3-5 bedroom house with a pool and garden seems to be as close to perfection as it gets, but not without a price: “For €1 million (£900,000) you can achieve, this but not with a view; this can push up the price to €2.5-3 million.” For example, with €7.9 million, you can get pure luxury in Saint-Rémy: a “seven-bedroom property … within 10 acres of grounds with 500-odd olive trees, an outdoor cinema, a swimming pool and eye-catching sculptures.”
Even with prices this high, buyers are still very much interested. Millions of worth of property is still as alluring as ever, since the market is active “and things go for close to asking price.” As the Telegraph article points out, “people choose to buy in Les Baux for the views and in Saint-Rémy for the address.”
Interest in Southern France has remained strong and continues to grow, as many Brits desire their own warm corner in this part of the world. As a result, house prices have increased but, more recently and due to Brexit, prices have dropped and somewhat stabilised. Provence has become the home for many of us Brits, where we have brought our traditions, from cricket teams to fish and chips and pubs.
But is this what we really dream of? Brexit has brought to the surface many issues regarding our identity, and replicating our British lives abroad appears to be problematic. On the one hand, “we Brits have rescued from oblivion and restored with care buildings that would otherwise be heaps of ruins. We have brought money and tourism to French regions and, in some cases, helped to revive villages that were moribund. Many Brits take an active part in the local community and in cultural and social associations, although most of us are careful to act like foot soldiers rather than generals.”
For these reasons, and because of Brexit, France is in many ways our second home, but we should avoid turning this beautiful and magical corner into little Britain, altering the tranquility and unique character of French customs.
If you are also dreaming of moving to France and, like us, you have fallen in love with that magical part of Provence, then Universal Partners FX are here to solve all your questions about buying property abroad and transferring your money. Give them a call today and find out how much they can save you when transferring your hard-earned money.