French Foreign Property Buyers Go into 2015 with Upper Hand, But Should Remain Realistic on Prices, says FrenchEntrée

February 02, 2015 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
February 2, 2015 - UK residents are being urged to remain realistic about the cost of purchasing a property in France in 2015 even if the market is currently in their favour, according to travel and property specialists FrenchEntrée.

Increasing availability of properties, a strong Pound versus the Euro, and rising UK house prices, means UK buyers were in the strongest position for some years to 'bag' a bargain French property in 2014, with reductions ranging from five to 30%. However, success depended largely on regional price differences and the popularity of particular property types, suggests a FrenchEntrée report on buying habits and property trends out today.

Competition for the most sought-after properties, such as a traditional, picture-perfect stone rural cottage, will remain strong, especially given growing interest in the country among Americans, Australians, and Far East buyers last year, it warns.

That is especially true in the South of France, already popular with Mediterranean sun- seekers. A new high-speed train link between the UK and the region planned for May 2015 will inevitably add interest to destinations in Provence, such as Avignon.

Guy Hibbert, managing director of FrenchEntrée says, "Many of our UK and overseas clients have managed to secure some price reductions on French property in 2014. Much of this has been down to a combination of France's well publicised economic issues, global financial trends, and sustained increases in UK house prices.

"This has created the impression buyers can effectively continue to negotiate similar price reductions going into 2015, with buyers holding the upper hand. While this can be true of some regions, there is a two-tier property market in France. Foreign buyers looking to buy in enduringly popular regions such as the Dordogne and Cote d'Azur will still be required to pay a premium over native market rates for picturesque rural period properties."

Key Report Findings:
  • A third of FrenchEntrée's network of estate agents specialising in foreign buyers confirmed foreign buyer interest had increased in 2014.
  • Foreign buyers are traditionally willing to spend between 250,000 (£191, 161) and 400,000 (£312,557), they said.
  • The average French citizen reportedly spends around 220,000 (£171,906) on a property.
  • Foreign buyers can expect to pay on average 262,000 (£204,784) for a character townhouse, to 279,000 (£218,071) for a detached rural three-bedroomed house. A gîte business is expected to cost around 400,000 (£312,557).*
  • The top three most popular areas are the Languedoc Roussillon, the Dordogne and Poitou-Charentes, all in the South West of France.

  • Buyers' Trends:
  • The majority of buyers make between two and five trips before choosing a property.
  • A growing interest in sustainable lifestyles, cheaper land and a less crowded countryside, are increasingly given as reasons for setting up house in France.
  • Just under 45% of respondents were looking to base themselves in France for the majority of the year. Over 40% are searching for a second home or holiday property.
  • While the overwhelming number of foreign buyers are nearing or are in retirement, just under a third of those questioned said they needed to run a business or generate an income.

  • Guy concludes, "The market for French homes is becoming more buoyant, complex and more competitive than the native French market. As a result, potential buyers need to be well-informed about what they can realistically expect to negotiate in different regions, depending on the area's transport infrastructure, popularity, and quality of living, just as in the UK."

    Notes for editors:
    *These figures are an average derived from agents who responded to the survey, not a median figure for foreign buyer transactions in France. A stone character property in Provence or Cote d'Azur will be significantly more expensive than one in the Limousin, for example.

    FrenchEntrée surveyed 706 buyers, plus and 65 estate agents from across France.

    Information on property trends in France is collected by the national federation of French Estate Agents (FNAIM) and the widely used Notaires de France. However, the official data does not easily record the buyer's country of residence, resulting in foreign buyer data being mixed with data collected from French buyers in official statistics.

    Price conversions are accurate as of 5th January 2015.

    For more information, or for a copy of the report, contact Sarah Chidgey at Netpr: 07805034477 or sarah@netpr.me.uk

    About FrenchEntrée
    FrenchEntrée is: The French property market specialist for foreign buyers, providing impartial advice on everything from French property buying living in France, to planning a holiday in the country.

    Launched in 2004, French Entrée has grown to become an invaluable source of advice and inspiration for hundreds of thousands of people, with a team of property consultants, a database of over 14,000 properties, a lively online forum aimed at helping members get the best out of living in France, as well as a beautiful magazine focusing on French culture, property and lifestyle.

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