British people still planning a new life in France in the future

by Ray Clancy on October 24, 2017

While many expats are worried about their status once the UK leaves the European Union, British purchasers are buying second homes in France with a view to making a permanent move to the country.

Almost half, some 47%, who took part in a new survey said that their main reason for buying a second home in France is to spend longer periods of time in the country ahead of making a permanent move.

The research from agents Leggett Immobilier also found that 23% of second home buyers want to offer use of their property to family and friends for breaks and holidays throughout the year.

Some 2% of those polled said they want to use their French second home as a dream getaway while 10% want to use it for family summer holidays and 8% to rent it out.

Separate research from the French statistics agency INSEE shows that British people are most likely to live in Nouvelle Aquitaine in the south west of the country with 39,000 expats currently in the region, the second biggest group of foreign residents after those from Portugal.

Aquitaine, France

(Sergey Dzyuba/

Overall it is estimated that 150,000 British people live in France and the second biggest group is in Occitanie with 25,500 expats from the UK, followed by 19,500 in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France.

Few British expats live on France’s Atlantic coast, with most settling inland, preferring the rural areas with the highest numbers in the Dordogne, Charente, Lot-et-Garonne, and Haute-Vienne.

According to Trevor Leggett, chairman of Leggett Immobilier, Brexit has not affected the things that attract British people to France. ‘The weather is still great, the property prices fantastic, the way of life relaxed and the food and wine delicious,’ he said.

‘It isn’t surprising that some of our clients are dipping a toe into a new lifestyle with a second home purchase, with a view to a more permanent move in the future,’ he explained.

‘With strong traditions around conviviality, the enjoyment and sharing of food and drink, family and friendship bonds, France is also the perfect place for a second base for family and friends, so it was interesting to see that this featured as the second biggest reason for buying a second home in France in our poll,’ he added.

The firm has found that demand continues in hot spots such as Midi-Pyrenees and the Alps as well as the ever popular south west of France.

Recent research from French bank BNP Paribas found that British people are still the biggest group of foreign buyers in France amounting to just under a third of overseas sales. It also suggested that while some buyers put their plans on hold due to the Brexit vote, 72% have been undeterred.

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