British buyers in France still lag behind expat French property investors in absolute numbers, according to a report produced by Credit Foncier.
Although British interest in areas such as the Cote D’Azur recovered last year to the point where it now accounts for 14% of all property bought by UK investors, in absolute terms, it is the overseas French buyers who account for nearly a third of all overseas originated property purchases, followed by the Brits who now make up 15% of all expat buyers.
The French property market is generally regarded as having weathered the credit crisis well, with overall sales volumes now returning to the boom years of 2003 to 2007 and prices moving forward in the second quarter of 2011 by 7.8% on average, with areas such as the Cote D’Azur showing gains of 8.4%, according to the French Property Market Report produced by the State Notaries in France.
‘With UK property values outside London still falling, it is easy to forget that other popular property markets are continuing to recover strongly,’ said Tim Harvey of euro mortgage specialists Offshoreonline.
‘French banks traditionally have a more conservative approach to lending and this may well have helped prevent volatility in that market, but loans of up 85% of the sale price at rates of around 3.45% are widely available today and for buyers concerned about future changes to interest rates, there has always been a wide choice of fixed and capped rate products available,’ he added.
Capitalising on the renewed interest amongst foreign buyers, Offshoreonline.org has highlighted a new development marketed by portal NewFrenchRivieraHomes in the centre of Cannes. The L’Elegant development offers a range of one, two and three bed apartments close to the prestigious Oxford part of Cannes and is now over 50% sold, having been on the market for just a few weeks.
‘For expatriates looking to invest in property, the French market certainly has potential and mortgages are easier to arrange with smaller deposits than in the UK at present. High quality areas such as the Cote d’Azur and towns such as Nice and Cannes will always have a special appeal both as second homes but also as rental propositions, as the area has such strong leisure and business traditions,’ explained Harvey.