The benefits of investing in French property

If you’d like to know more about investing in French property, I was recently interviewed by Martin Roberts for his ‘Home Rule‘ segment on Talk Radio. Among other topics, we discussed the appetite for property across Europe – particularly how the market is hotting up in France. You can listen to my interview below.

We’re seeing exceptional demand for property in France, and in particular on the French Riviera. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest draw for investing in the French property – particularly the Riviera – is the long-term appeal of property there.

The South of France as a location offers excellent value in itself – the food, beautiful weather and the quality of life will continually attract investment from foreign nationals. Where inflated property prices in the UK are a result of the financial backdrop of the country, beautiful locations like the French Riviera will hold their value for lifestyle reasons.

When looking specifically at the French Alps, people will always want to ski in Courchevel so it will maintain long-term stability. Courchevel’s stunning natural beauty has attracted celebrities since the 60s and will continue to do so because of the value of its physical characteristics.

Property in overseas locations where people want to visit is a long-term store of value so it’s a safe investment—we’re not going to see a property crash in the South of France.

How can I finance buying a property in the South of France?

In terms of securing finance for overseas property, there are some excellent products in Europe. Even though the UK financial system is more sophisticated than most in Europe, there are good products in Europe for investors. For example, we work with a private bank who will offer 100% financing, plus all legal fees.

You can also get a very competitive interest rate in Europe, despite it being deemed less investor friendly than the UK. Even though rates are on the rise slightly in France, you can still negotiate a fixed rate around 1.5% on an interest only repayment method, and even lower with a connected broker.

Houses are deemed to be ‘just houses’, rather than investment opportunities, and trophy assets are illiquid, but regardless of this, France is a semi-investor friendly market.

Finally, Macron’s changes to tax mean that France is becoming more friendly for high net worth (HNW) individuals – although it may be too early to say, the outlook is certainly brighter than in recent years, when the wealth tax was so punitive. As such, HNW investors are looking to invest in the financial markets in France more and more.

French banks are notoriously slow and inefficient, and have a queue out the door of foreign nationals trying to get loans. Non-purchase deals like equity release and development finance, often go to the bottom of the pile, so it’s key to get a good broker involved. Having the contacts high up in a bank, speaking the language, and being able to negotiate on your behalf, is why a broker is invaluable in the process of purchasing overseas.

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