France still popular with British property buyers

  • 13 years ago
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France is ‘by far’ the leading foreign location with British buyers looking overseas, according to a leading property expert.  Charles Weston-Baker, the head of international property at high net worth agents Savills, has identified France as the leading location in ‘a new world order of property ownership’.

Brits approaching retirement heading to France

The most recent Global Residential Review from Savills reported that property prices in France doubled between 2000 and 2007 before falling by 11 per cent and then stabilising.  Mr Weston-Baker told Country Life: “Most of our enquiries are for France…the Saint-Tropez end of the Côte d’Azur continues to attract cash-rich lifestyle buyers, as it offers lower prices than the old [eastern] Riviera.”

Many Brits buying in France are reaching retirement and many have friends who already live in some of France’s most popular areas.  Paddy Dring, head of Knight Frank’s international department said: “Buyers tend to be people coming towards retirement.  They have enough funds to fulfil the dream of owning a house abroad, and want to enjoy more time with family. They have friends in these areas already.”

The pace of life is slower in mid-France and the property market is also quieter.  Ian Purslow from Knight Frank believes it is an excellent time to buy in central France.  He said: “The market remains saturated with properties that have little chance of selling if they’re overpriced, because they have to compete with new instructions.”

Italy also popular with British buyers

Demand from Brits looking to buy property in Italy is also strong, particularly in popular areas such as Tuscany.  Mr Weston-Baker said: “The country has resisted the high mortgage culture that has landed so many others in trouble, so the housing market has been relatively strong.”

Rupert Fawcett, head of Knight Frank in Italy agrees.  “Buyers are comforted by the knowledge that the market is more stable and feel they’re making a sound investment.”

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