Brexit and a bout of cold winter weather failed to deter househunters from turning out in force at The France Show in London, where the UK’s largest French property exhibition was held in January.
Despite concerns raised since the UK voted to leave the EU in June last year, the property exhibition enjoyed a steady flow of property buyers for the duration of the three-day event at London’s Olympia, where many exhibitors said this was their best year yet.
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years and I’ve never been so busy – it’s been magnificent,” said Charles Smallwood of Agence L’Union.
In addition to the impressive turnout, exhibitors also noted a rise in buyers’ budgets, as well as more serious enquiries.
“It’s been quality over quantity this year,” said Stephen Woodrow from Brittany-based estate agency Agence Arguenon. “We’ve had more serious, quality leads. It’s been very positive for us, as always.”
Other agents also noted the trend for quality over quantity, with many commenting on the bigger budgets that buyers had available. “People definitely have higher budgets than in previous years,” said Ludovic Mouly of Mouly Immobilier. “We’ve also noticed that more people have taken the decision to sell their UK home and move to France on a permanent basis.”
First-time exhibitor Jeanne Boden from La Durantie said the show will be the first of many for her. “It’s been amazing; we’ve had lots of interest,” she said. “It’s been a great forum for networking and for getting everyone together in the one place. I’ve also seen some clients that I’ve had on the books for years. After seeing me here, they want to come back.”
Estate agents representing regions across France were on-hand to answer questions about buying property in France while a team of experts including notaires, removal companies, financial experts, mortgage advisers and solicitors were available to provide information on the practicalities of the buying process.
A programme of expert seminars proved ever-popular, with talks offering free specialist advice on a range of topics, including buying and living in France, tax and legal issues and possible implications of Brexit informing large audiences of keen, potential buyers.
Downstairs, a traditional French market, wine-tasting sessions, live French music and Living France columnist Ian Moore gave visitors a taste of French life while the stands on the property floor, showcasing everything from seaside villas and country cottages to ski chalets and city apartments offered visitors the chance to make their dream a reality.
If you’re still looking for your dream home in France, the next property exhibition will take place at Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire from 17-18 March 2017. Admission is free. fpenewbury.com agencelunion.com agencearguenon.com mouly-immobilier.com; durantie.com