Prop­erty post-Brexit T

Living France - - Les Pratiques -

he UK’s de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union has un­der­stand­ably caused con­cern and un­cer­tainty among Bri­tish buy­ers con­sid­er­ing a prop­erty pur­chase in France. Yet while the ex­act im­pli­ca­tions of the re­sult are still un­clear at this stage, prop­erty ex­perts have ex­pressed con­fi­dence in the con­tin­ued growth of the French prop­erty mar­ket with the help of Bri­tish in­vest­ment.

Trevor Leggett from Leggett Im­mo­bilier says it has been business as usual since the Brexit re­sult was an­nounced. “It’s still early days but en­quiry lev­els from the UK are hold­ing up pretty well. We had around 1,000 new en­quiries in the week fol­low­ing the ref­er­en­dum with clients hav­ing of­fers ac­cepted on 34 prop­er­ties across France in the same week,” he com­mented.

Charles Small­wood from Agence l’Union has ex­pe­ri­enced a sim­i­lar re­sponse. “Some UK po­ten­tial buy­ers wanted to hold out and see what would hap­pen af­ter the re­sult, post­pon­ing their visit to view prop­er­ties. But within a day or so most of them had got back in touch with us and wanted to re­con­firm their ren­dez-vous.”

Some agents have seen the emer­gence of a new type of client fol­low­ing the UK’s de­ci­sion to leave the EU, sug­gest­ing that it has pro­vided ex­tra en­cour­age­ment for some Bri­tish buy­ers who are con­sid­er­ing a move to France.

Tim Swan­nie, direc­tor of Home Hunts, has no­ticed that the na­ture of clients’ en­quiries has shifted in re­cent weeks. “In the past our en­quiries from the UK were for hol­i­day homes, but this has changed a lot in the last month. Since the ref­er­en­dum re­sult, en­quiries from UK buy­ers wish­ing to re­lo­cate have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. UK-based en­quiries for Paris have risen dra­mat­i­cally, mainly com­ing from peo­ple work­ing in fi­nance.”

The weak­en­ing of the pound has also been a com­mon con­cern among prospec­tive buy­ers but, as James Rolt of es­tate agency Com­pag­nie Im­mo­bil­ière Charentaise in Char­ente notes, ven­dors on both sides of the Chan­nel have been will­ing to ac­com­mo­date this.

“Both Bri­tish and French ven­dors have proven to be even more open to ne­go­ti­a­tion af­ter the Brexit de­ci­sion than be­fore, more than mak­ing up for any short­term drop in the ex­change rate,” he said.

Tim Swan­nie has also ex­pe­ri­enced this. “Most Bri­tish ven­dors have quickly be­come more flex­i­ble since the up­set of the Brexit an­nounce­ment, par­tic­u­larly if they are chang­ing their money back into pound ster­ling.”

Above all, it’s clear that buy­ers re­main keen to in­vest in some­thing be­yond a bricks and mor­tar prop­erty – they are also buy­ing into a life­style many feel France can af­ford them, per­haps now more than ever. Ni­cola Christinger of Janssens Im­mo­bilier in Provence has cer­tainly no­ticed this among Bri­tish buy­ers search­ing for prop­erty in this area of the south of France. “Some peo­ple are more de­ter­mined than ever to find a home here. Even in a dif­fi­cult prop­erty mar­ket, there are still deals to be made. Many Bri­tish clients are still con­tin­u­ing with this dream by want­ing to get away from the black cloud cur­rently lin­ger­ing over the Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion.”

James Rolt agrees with this sen­ti­ment. “Above all, the de­sire for a new life in our sunny, beau­ti­ful cor­ner of France seems to out­weigh any fears stem­ming from Brexit. For some clients we have spo­ken to, the de­ci­sion to leave the EU is yet an­other rea­son for want­ing to leave the UK and come and live in France in the first place!”

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