The ex­change rate can make a big dif­fer­ence to how much money you have to spend on your new home and life in France, as Lewis Ed­monds ex­plains

Living France - - Contents -

How move­ments in the ex­change rate can make a big dif­fer­ence to your bud­get

For any­one buy­ing a house in the UK, it’s com­mon knowl­edge that you should move quickly – af­ter all, prices are only go­ing up. As a first-time buyer on the hunt for a prop­erty on the out­skirts of north-west Lon­don, I per­son­ally know this all too well.

How­ever, cross the Chan­nel and you’ll find an en­tirely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion, which only serves to strengthen the ap­peal of buy­ing a prop­erty in France. Not only are prop­er­ties them­selves cheaper, but thanks to large strides made by ster­ling against the euro since 2010, each pound means an ad­di­tional 21 cents in your pocket, and this can make a big dif­fer­ence to your French house-hunt­ing fund.

If we take an av­er­age bud­get of £200,000 to spend on a home in France, the list of po­ten­tial prop­er­ties that falls within this price bracket changes dra­mat­i­cally.

We can track these marked im­prove­ments in buy­ing power by con­sid­er­ing what would fall into my price range based on ex­change rates as they were five years ago, three years ago and in the present day, to show just how much fur­ther your money goes now. I’ve cho­sen the Brit­tany re­gion as my search area on fran­ce­prop­er­tyshop.com and even I was sur­prised by the re­sults of my com­par­i­son.


Back in 2011 the econ­omy was be­gin­ning to ex­pe­ri­ence a turn­around fol­low­ing the re­ces­sion, and the ex­change re­mained at around 1.10 for much of the year. This would give me a bud­get to­day of €220,000.

This prop­erty ( above) was con­structed from the stones of an old mill and the ru­ins of the mill can still be found in the grounds. There’s plenty of char­ac­ter both in­side and out, and a new sep­tic tank has al­ready been in­stalled. Set in over 3,000m2 of grounds and with the river run­ning along­side it, the house has lovely views over the sur­round­ing coun­try­side and the se­cluded lo­ca­tion makes it ideal for those keen to swap the hus­tle and bus­tle for a slower pace of life.


By 2013 the re­cov­ery was gain­ing some mo­men­tum and ex­change rates hov­ered around 1.21 on av­er­age, see­ing my bud­get stretch to around €240,000.

The ad­di­tional €20,000 I’ve gained as a re­sult of ex­change rate move­ments would buy me a lot more house for my money. This farm­house ( be­low) has five bed­rooms and is sit­u­ated on the edge of a vil­lage close to the town of Pon­tivy, which also means it’s eas­ier to get to and closer to ameni­ties than the first prop­erty.

Dat­ing back to the 1900s, the house has been ex­tended and ren­o­vated and is set in over an acre of gar­dens, where there is a barn that is cur­rently used as a garage and work­shop.


The UK re­cov­ery hit its peak in 2015, with huge gains made in em­ploy­ment and growth. There were a few stum­bling blocks at the be­gin­ning of 2016, but the av­er­age price to buy eu­ros this year is still at 1.31, ex­tend­ing my bud­get even fur­ther to around €260,000.

This spa­cious prop­erty ( above) has been ren­o­vated to a high stan­dard and also has five bed­rooms, while open-plan liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion on the ground floor fur­ther adds to the feel­ing of space. Set in a third of an acre of at­trac­tive gar­den, you also get a 9mx4m swim­ming pool for your money and a dou­ble garage could be used as a work­shop.

The lo­ca­tion of­fers the best of many worlds too – in a ru­ral ham­let be­tween the vil­lage of Bieuzy-Lan­vaux and the commune of Plu­vi­gner, it is just a short drive from Mor­bi­han cap­i­tal, Vannes.


Look­ing at the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the prop­erty mar­ket and the cur­rency world over the course of the past five years, it’s clear to see that po­ten­tial pur­chasers of prop­erty in France are in a much stronger po­si­tion now as a re­sult of move­ments in the ex­change rate, and the ex­tra money in the bud­get goes a lot fur­ther in France than it would in the UK.

Bri­tish house-hunters now have 18% more buy­ing power across the Chan­nel, than they did five years ago and the ad­di­tional €40,000 gained in this ex­am­ple makes a big dif­fer­ence to the prop­erty you can buy – more space, a de­sir­able lo­ca­tion and a swim­ming pool. I think you’d agree, that’s a very at­trac­tive propo­si­tion.

Po­ten­tial pur­chasers of prop­erty in France are in a much stronger po­si­tion now

Ref: 377891 fran­ce­prop­er­tyshop.com

Ref: 126972, fran­ce­prop­er­tyshop.com

Ref: 389649, fran­ce­prop­er­tyshop.com

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