2014 Update on the France property market

France is still the most popular country with Brits seeking second homes abroad. It seems that France has a certain allure which never goes away, despite the ongoing Eurozone crisis - which has done little to deter Brits seeking a second home in the sunshine and the laid back French lifestyle. 


France remains a safe bet when it comes to property purchase and with the pound having largely picked up against the euro and the low mortgage rates across the country, 2014 may well be one of the best years in which to buy property there.

There is a lot of talk of prices dropping across France and certainly places take a lot longer to sell than in the UK. It is difficult to accurately forecast anything for 2014 but generally, there has been a slight decrease in property prices in most parts of the country. This is an attractive proposition (along with the sunshine, great food and wine, history and culture, of course!), so we expect international buyers to flock to France for some time to come.

The national association of French estate agents (FNAIM) reports that house prices fell by an average of 1.3% across the country over the past year, with some rural areas seeing drops of up to 8%. In terms of the most popular areas, the Limousin continues to be attractive to foreign buyers, and is still the cheapest area of France; over the last 4 years, prices have fallen by as much as 15.7% in the Creuse department. Going further south, the Midi-Pyrenees region has largely held its own – growth has been seen in the Haute Garonne department, whereas in the lovely hotspot of the Languedoc Roussillon there has been a reduction of about 3%. The more expensive areas of Paris and the Cote d’Azur have stayed at a steady price (as one would expect), and the Aquitaine and Poitou Charentes areas are traditionally very popular with British people; both areas have a large expat community and offer easy access to both airports and main line train stations for trips back to the UK.

Whilst mortgage rates remain low at around 3.5%, some banks have introduced much tougher lending criteria, making buyers much more cautious. Older houses, with character, farmhouses and barns remain the most popular type of property with foreign buyers. The number of new build property sales in France fell almost dramatically in the third quarter of 2013.

It looks as though low interest rates will remain, and although some banks demand greater evidence of means, they are likely to lend to non-residents. Many banks, faced with declining demand in the last couple of years due to the Eurozone crisis, are offering favourable discounts in order to attract foreign customers.

France remains a popular country with other foreign buyers as well as Brits. There is a good market amongst Australians, for example, who are finding their money goes much further in France. The market is undoubtedly slower than in the UK but with so much going for France in terms of stability, better weather, easy access back to the UK, low interest rates and space and culture, this year is likely to shape up to a great one for property buying in most parts of the country.