Whether you’re moving to France for work, to start a business or just to enjoy the French lifestyle, you’ve probably considered buying property to live in or as an investment.
Whether your destination of choice is Paris, Marseilles, Lyon or any smaller city in between, you’ll find a plethora of options in property for sale, ranging from massive estates to tiny apartments to undeveloped plots of land.
While it seems like the French are missing out on investing in their own country– just 57% own their own property– their reluctance to buy has left a wide market open for expats and foreign investors. And despite some tricky laws and a load of taxes, many non-Residents have taken the opportunity to buy into the European country.
So can foreigners buy property in France? Well, it’s very much a Yes because people from other continents like the US are able to buy in France and the property market in France is very good, with 950,000 sales in 2018, which is a new historic record. We have been told that in Paris, properties at the right price are sold within two days.
With such a robust outlook for the French real estate market, and a great quality of life on offer, France is sure to remain a big draw for foreigners for years to come.
However, buying a home is a big investment – and navigating a foreign system with different taxes, legal fees and purchase costs can be daunting. Get it wrong, and you could end up paying more than you expect.
Here’s an overview of what is involved in buying a property in France, covering the likely hotspots for property, the process for finding, securing and paying for a new home – and how to make sure you avoid unnecessary fees and charges along the way.
France is a very popular place for people looking to buy a new property abroad – whether they want a family holiday home, or a long term investment. The French property market is considered to be fairly stable, with house prices rising steadily.
Best places to buy property in France
There’s a perfect location for everyone in France – from buzzy seaside towns for family fun, to vibrant cities, or your own slice of pastoral peace.
Best locations in France for a family
Nantes is a popular city for families, and regularly voted one of the most livable cities in France. Its large student population means there’s a great cultural scene, and there’s always something going on. Get to Nantes with a direct flight from the UK, or a two-hour train journey from Paris.
Best locations in France for young professionals
There are many places in France where you can achieve a great balance of work and play as a young professional. One popular choice for expat professionals is Bordeaux, for great weather, cuisine, and of course wine. Spend your working week in the city, and have the weekends free to get to the coast, or up into the mountains, to explore and relax.
Best locations in France for retirees
Many people are drawn to retire in France thanks to the high standards of living available in France, even on a fixed income. Lyon has been voted the best place to retire in France, followed by Montpellier and Sarlat-la-Canéda.
Best locations in France for investors
If you have a big budget, Paris is attractive – particularly as the 2024 Olympic games will come to the city, and increase its desirability still further. However, even if you have a more modest budget, you could do well with an investment property in one of the less “discovered” areas of France. Try the Massif Central for beautiful scenery, and some affordable housing options.
Best locations in France for a holiday home
For ease of access, Brittany is a perennially popular location for Brits looking for a holiday home in France. Sail from the UK to Roscoff or St Malo, and you could be at your French home in the city of Rennes, or on the coast near Quiberon or Carnac in no time.