While many British expats are worried about their status once the UK leaves the European Union, new research suggests that people still want to make a permanent move to France.

France is a big favourite with British people who have bought holiday homes and lived in the country for decades and this love affair with the French way of life is not diminishing.

Research from real estate firm Leggett Immobilier has found that 47% of British purchasers buying second homes are doing so to spend longer periods of time in the country prior to a permanent move.

This was followed by 23% saying that the aim is for the property to be used by family and friends for breaks, while 12% want to use their French home as a getaway for family holidays.

Some 10% said that the main aim of buying a home in France is to use it for family summer holidays and 8% said that they want to rent out their second home.

‘The things that Brits love about France haven't changed. The weather is still great, the property prices are fantastic, the way of life relaxed and the food and wine delicious,’ said Trevor Leggett, chairman of Leggett Immobilier.

‘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 pointed out.

‘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 meeting place 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 latest figures suggest that the French market is recovering in terms of sales and prices. The data from Notaires de France says that they expect prices to rise by 1.2% year on year by the end of this month but some locations are seeing much higher growth.

For example, in Bordeaux prices are up 15.5% year on year, although this is likely due to the new high speed rail link which is reducing times from the city to Paris to just over two hours. The Notaires said there has been a particular rise in demand for older apartments.

In the southern city of Nimes prices per square meter increased by 11.1% in the 12 months to May 2017 and in the northern city of Lille they were up by 8.5% while prices in Paris increased by 5.5% over the same period.

Sales, have also risen. Notaires recorded more than 900,000 property sales in the 12 months to May and said that buyers are making the most of competitive prices and low mortgage rates.

This was noticeably higher than the 824,000 sales recorded between May 2015 and May 2016 and higher than the 880,000 sales that had been forecast for the 12 month period ending in May 2017.

The Notaires report also point out that properties that are selling are doing so very fast and without any negotiation and this is pushing up prices. And they warn that a rise in social security charges and changes to capital gains tax could have an impact on the property market going forward.