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

Kelvin Lloyd
Kelvin Lloyd 09 Oct 2017

IT is up, to the Planners. If they will only give permission for bungalows on certain (suitable) sites, they will be built.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

It's just the beginning of the shocking rise.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

I have recently read that the bungalows can provide social housing for elderly residents in London.

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zoe glover
zoe glover 05 Oct 2017

Update! Worst company I have ever dealt with. Undervalued a Cambridge property by over 100k, wont take on any evidence of valuation including a RICS valuation done 3 years ago for the very same value...

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Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards 27 Sep 2017

Its nonsense articles such as this that make it harder to get clients to realise just how difficult the market is out there. When you see Rightmove and there are more 'price reduced' then 'new' most days...

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Tom Allen
Tom Allen 20 Sep 2017

Absolutely agree with you!

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RyanGeo
RyanGeo 18 Sep 2017

A sharp correction would be a less dramatic expression to use. That is already underway in certain sectors in Reading where I practice as Chartered Surveyor

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sean benton
sean benton 01 Sep 2017

Identity theft is a thread for any profession. So,people should stay alarmed. I once take help from a letting agent and came to know that letting agents are taking every precaution to prevent fraudulent...

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Mark N.
Mark N. 30 Aug 2017

We have seen a surge in instructions over August and that should continue into September too.

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Chris
Chris 30 Aug 2017

Unfortunately, all the legislation bears its force on Landlords and ignores, naively, the effect of Rogue Tenants on the ability of landlords to keep houses in repair and offer properties for rent at reasonable...

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Christian Donovan
Christian Donovan 18 Aug 2017

The write-down on house values, combined with the fall in the GBP saddled the fund?s property portfolio with a 1.4% loss in the second quarter. The shocking amount of $240 million.

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Samantha Goodman
Samantha Goodman 11 Aug 2017

Interesting point of view.

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