Brits now account for a fifth of all expat house purchases in France

Data released by BNP Paribas shows that the UK still accounts for around a fifth of all the house purchases by expatriate buyers in France. Although the number buying has dropped slightly between 2012 and 2011 (down from 19.4% of transactions to 19.1%) the average transaction amount has risen slightly to stand at €384,000 euros, suggesting buyers are now more focussed on higher quality homes.

British buyers dominate the purchasing tables in many regions, including Brittany and Normandy, but are also important buyers in areas such as Aquitaine and Midi Pyrenees. Italian buyers dominate in the Parisian region and in Provence Alpes Cote D’Azur, according to the data.

Commenting on the data, Tim Harvey, managing director of specialist euro mortgage brokers Offshoreonline.org said, “The French market has retained its appeal for many British buyers, partly due to the fact that there has not been any shortage of choice or availability of euro mortgage finance. Whilst in the UK we have seen lenders retreat from the market, in France, lenders have gone in the opposite direction, launching new products and cutting interest rates. Variable rate loans are currently available at 2.15%, whilst 10 year fixed rate mortgage rates are on offer from 2.80% with some lenders.”

Unlike the UK, foreign buyers are often faced with a bewildering amount of choice when it comes to choosing their euro home finance package – as well as long and short term fixed rate mortgages, capped rates, which combine variable and fixed rate loan characteristics to limit the level interest rates can rise in the event of bank interest rate changes are also available. Mortgage brokers such as Offshoreonline.org can be very useful in helping to decipher the market in such circumstances.

Harvey continues, “For the worldwide expatriate who may well have more choice when it comes to choosing where they would like to buy a second home, France has much to offer. Many who previously would have bought in Spain are now looking at France, as property values there have generally performed well at a time when values have crashed in Spain, for example.”

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