The French property market is booming, with 2016 bringing the highest level of sales for a decade. As house prices are expected to rise this year, buying a property in France now could provide you with a dream lifestyle and a lucrative investment opportunity.
Despite there being so much political uncertainty last year, and now into 2017, last year’s property market was a huge success.
A recent report from Notaires de France confirmed that house sales were up by 11% in 2016 from the previous year. To be precise, 838,000 houses were sold at the end of September 2016, compared with 755,000 the year before.
Prices have stabilised across most of France and are rising in some. With the buyer’s market becoming more competitive, now is the time to buy.
Why property sales are going through the roof
Notaires de France suggests this dynamic market has occurred for two main reasons. The first is low mortgage-lending rates. The second is that buyers have been rushing to invest before the market picks up again, following three years of “wait and see”.
For Home Hunts the report confirms what the team has been experiencing.
“We were initially concerned by how Brexit and the rise to power of Donald Trump in the US would affect the French property market, but fortunately it thrived instead,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts. “While we did see fewer British buyers wanting second homes after Brexit, many others have been searching for permanent residences instead.”
He adds: “European and American buyers have been plentiful, especially while the dollar is still strong. They are mostly looking for ‘lifestyle-enhancing’ property investments, which is our speciality, so we have experienced a strong surge in enquiries and sales over the last 18 months.”
The key to beating weak exchange rates
How is it that despite sterling not performing as well against the euro, British buyers have been investing anyway?
Tim explains that it is partly due to buyers being able to negotiate irresistible deals with vendors, but also because of France’s advantageous mortgage rates and supportive loan structures.
“French banks offer what is called a back to-back-loan where you can deposit your money in sterling and then borrow the same amount in euros,” says Tim.
He adds: “This is a perfect solution to avoid taking a hit on exchange rates, as when rates improve in the future, buyers can choose to pay off the mortgage.”
Where to find the real deal
So where are the best areas to buy property in France right now?
Property in the French Alps can provide year-round holidays as well as a steady stream of rental income. Over the last year prices have increased by around 3% in the region, but by as much as 5% in some areas, such as Chamonix.
“The Alps offer many ‘safe haven’ resorts, such as Morzine, Les Gets, Chamonix and Megève, but we also recommend towns such as Evian les Bains and Annecy to our clients,” explains Tim. “These are close to ski resorts for winter holidays and the lakes and mountains for water sports and summer activities, and can be enjoyed to the full all year round.”
In the South of France, Notaires de France confirms that house prices have stabilised in property hotspots such as Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Montpellier. The Home Hunts team also believes that perfume capital Grasse, on the Côte d’Azur, is a good investment opportunity. With millions being spent to transform the town centre, by 2021 residents can combine a luxurious modern lifestyle with old-world Riviera charm.
Other hotspots for investment include Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice, where prices have also started to rise over the last twelve months.
“As prices are expect to continue to increase in these areas, buying property here is a good choice for buyers whether they want a holiday home or a permanent residence or a quick turnaround sale,” says Tim. “If you catch the market in time, it can serve many different purposes, which is why we’re seeing such a surge in enquiries and sales.”
Home Hunts is a luxury property specialist and buyer’s agent who acts solely on behalf of the buyer. You can learn more about Home Hunts’ service here:
Start searching for luxury property in France today at www.home-hunts.com
To speak to a Home Hunts consultant directly about your specific property needs call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.