Six Months after the referendum, are Brits still buying in France?

Six Months after the referendum, are Brits still buying in France?

December 23rd marks six months since the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. Since the announcement that Britain had voted to leave the European Union, the effects of this important decision have been visible in the international property market.

France has traditionally been one of the countries with the largest numbers of British Ex Pats, with 190,000 Brits living in France, according to recent UN Figures. But with all the economic turmoil following the Brexit announcement, will UK-based buyers still look to France as a home from home?

Tim Swannie, director of leading buyer's agent Home-Hunts, reflects on the impact of the referendum so far.

Tim said: “The number of enquiries from UK clients has reduced this year which is understandable; some people are waiting to see what happens with the Brexit drama, and others have been put off because of the pound to Euro exchange rate.

Funnily enough, we've also had a number of British clients buying specifically because of Brexit; they want to make sure they own a property in the EU before the UK officially leaves.

There have been two specific areas where we have seen a rise in enquiries from the UK: Paris and also the French Alps. The majority of these enquiries come from clients who work in Finance; some are looking to relocate closer to Paris or Geneva and others are buying for investment purposes, with a view to relocation in future.

There's no arguing that Sterling is low at the moment against the Euro, so the timing isn't ideal for UK-based cash buyers. However, we've found many clients are taking mortgages instead. Many French banks offer what is called a 'back to back' loan, whereby you can deposit your money in Sterling with them and then you borrow the same amount in Euros. This is a perfect solution to avoid taking a hit on exchange rates. Then, when rates improve in future, buyers can choose to pay off the mortgage.

Many clients are specifically asking us about UK sellers because of the exchange rate to Sterling. British buyers are generally quite flexible at the moment if they are changing their money back to Sterling. Having said that, as a buyers' agent, we've found that most owners are flexible currently. It's certainly a buyer's market at the moment, and with the uncertainty of Brexit still looming in 2017, and the upcoming general election in France, we expect it to remain that way into next year too.


The majority of clients at the moment are coming from mainland Europe, specifically Scandinavia, Benelux and also Germany. We are also getting a lot of interest from Swiss, American and Middle Eastern clients.

All areas have been quite busy, but the real stand out areas in terms of sales have been Cannes, Sainte Maxime to Saint Tropez, Montpellier to Narbonne, The Dordogne, Chamonix, Morzine and Paris. We've agreed sales on all kind of properties ranging from small renovation projects around 600,000 Euros through to a 7.2 million Euro apartment in Paris and a 19 million Euro contemporary villa in Saint Tropez.”

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Latest Comments

Oliver Conway
Oliver Conway 18 May 2017

Making a neat inventory is a good idea, but if the seller is not willing to provide it, can the buyer demand it?

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Bertrand
Bertrand 17 May 2017

First step to nationalisation of the private rented sector IMHO. Nanny state poking their noses into things yet again. I object, as a decent landlord, sometimes having to deal with some pretty awful tenants,...

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Izzy
Izzy 16 May 2017

This is such a great a post. I love the detail you've gone into. It's a very useful article for helping those who are looking at deciding which sector they would like to go into! When I first started investing...

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paul burnham
paul burnham 30 Apr 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's pledge that a Labour government would build 500,000 new council houses must electrify the general election campaign. Reliance on markets and the profit motive has brought huge housing-related...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 28 Apr 2017

Sadiq Khan?s announcement of an online database of landlords and letting agents who have been convicted of housing offences, appears on face value to be a variation of the already implemented Database

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warren
warren 26 Apr 2017

You're very welcome Mary! Glad you enjoyed them :)

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Mary Ward
Mary Ward 26 Apr 2017

Thank you for the wonderful ideas. First impressions can make or break a deal. It's sadly that many homeowners drop the kerb to create an off-street parking space.

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Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 14 Apr 2017

I'm not at all surprised that so many landlords are still confused about what the tax changes really mean and how it will affect them. In particular, the blind rush to incorporation is leaving landlords...

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MH
MH 13 Apr 2017

You are right that the bank holidays are going to be spoiled in looking for the properties. But people who want to sell their property and looking for the better relocation, they can get benefits of this...

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bnellyb
bnellyb 08 Apr 2017

There will be an exodus of private landlords over the next 5 years as tax changes take effect, private landlords provide an important service to the rental market, why do housing associations and councils...

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Fred Cassman
Fred Cassman 07 Apr 2017

"Make it look like you are at home": often people forget this and share on facebook their location!

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jared townsend
jared townsend 05 Apr 2017

It'll be interesting to see how & if the Government's asset sale regarding mortgages helps

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