National average property price (per square metre)
2,453 euros (Notaries.fr, April 2015)
Basic Mortgage Facts
Max 85% loan to value Max term 25 years €50,000 minimum loan
Rates from 2.2%
France is a country of contrasts that has something for everyone. The diverse landscape and distinctiveness of its 22 regions characterised by their unique style and customs, combined with an equally varied climate, create an alluring mix. Altogether they make France a very attractive place to live in.
It’s also a great place to buy a home. While French property hasn’t been reduced to bargain basement prices, it generally remains well under UK averages, with plenty to choose from within a budget and the current strength of the pound allowing buyers to get more bang for their euro. It’s a buyer’s market. With a defiantly dynamic property market, France has also represented relative stability amid the recent global downturn and is considered as a safe haven by investors.
The most popular department, outside Paris, for the British to emigrate to is the Dordogne, just ahead of Alpes-Maritimes (home to Nice and the surrounding Cote d’Azur area). The region is a popular destination for retirees, with half of the Brits over 55 years old and having arrived in the last five years, according to the French Statistical Agency.
When it comes to finance, French mortgage rates are still at their lowest in decades, with deals starting at just 2.2% for a variable mortgage over 10 years, and 2.85% for a 25-year fixed-rate loan. And unlike many countries where the best rates are limited to those with the biggest deposits, both of these deals, and many others, are available for mortgages of up to 80% loan-to-value.
Securing finance these days isn’t quite as straightforward as it once was but French lenders are still willing to lend to British buyers, especially if they can prove that they have a sound financial profile. They’ll require more details about income and outgoings, so it’s important to have your accounts in good order.
As always, it’s imperative to take professional advice before making any decisions. Prospective buyers should always go through the same process that they would follow if they were buying a property in the UK, and this includes consulting a good independent lawyer, and ensuring that an independent valuation of the property takes place, even if it’s a cash purchase. There’s nothing to be gained, and everything to lose, by cutting corners and taking unnecessary risks.
One of the most effective ways of obtaining a mortgage for a property purchase in France is to use a specialist broker in the UK. They’ll know the exact mortgage application requirements and can source the best possible deal. It can also put buyers in touch with specialists in France, to ensure that they comply fully with planning and legal conditions, and can also assist with currency exchange.