Property post-Brexit T
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!”