Will 2016 be the year for buying in France?
For many British buyers, France remains the foreign property dream. According to HiFX Property Hotspots Report, France and Spain are still the most popular destinations to buy a property abroad, despite the euro zone turmoil. France tops the list, with 23 per cent of potential buyers looking to own a property across the Channel.
Key findings by Knight Frank in their France Insight Report states that although buyers are price sensitive they continue to be convinced by France’s enduring appeal as a luxury second home destination. The outlook for French prime property is positive despite the debt crisis and fiscal austerity. Property investors continue to favour France over the Eurozone’s non-core member states. Since 2009, for example, the euro has weakened against sterling - averaging €1.05 in 2009 compared to €1.28 in 2012.
President Hollande’s proposals to add ‘social charges’ to rental income and capital gains tax for non-resident second home owners meant that British owners of French property were hit last summer with an extra charge on profit on their homes, which cannot be offset against their UK capital gains tax bill. But many of those looking to buy in France will probably aim to own their property for many years, rather than sell it on for a profit shortly down the line. Legal experts are also currently determining whether the new charges are likely to be found as discriminatory by the European Union.
According to Tim Brown, Head of International Sales at Chesterton Humberts, the record low interest rates make France appealing and says: “Out of our entire international network, France was our big seller last year.”
Tony Dowse, Developer of Chateau De La Durantie in The Tarn region of South West France agrees and says: “France remains a safe bet for Brits looking to buy abroad. The weather, lifestyle and proximity to the UK make France a constant favourite, and with the Pound going much further 2013 could be a good time to buy.”
Property enquiries strengthened during 2012, particularly in those areas situated within easy reach of an international airport. Supply has risen and there is a good choice of stock, both in terms of volume and quality. Along with British buyers (ranking first) Knight Frank is seeing interest from Dutch, Belgian and Swiss nationals as well as from British expatriates seeking a European base while posted in the Middle East and Asia.
Importantly, with many buyers requiring some return on their property investment in the current economic climate, the government leaseback scheme in France provides a hassle-free buy-to-let opportunity with a 19.6% tax refund.
The Durantié Management Company is providing a leaseback scheme option to buyers of their newly launched development in South West France. The Château De La Durantié in the Tarn is unveiling fresh plans for an historical belle époque style chateau and 15 hectare estate. Uniquely to this region, homes come with automatic year-round country club membership, enabling owners to experience the best of both worlds - 21st century living combined with the use of the sympathetically restored château building, facilities and club entertainment. Phase one will consist of 57 three to five bedroom detached homes together with two and three bedroom apartments and terraced cottages.
In-keeping with the local villages, homes will be arranged in small clusters of approximately six homes with private spaces and landscaped internal courtyards. Some homes will be stone faced and others will have the traditional render in soft hues bordered by local detailing in brick and stone. Terracotta roof tiles will enhance the mellow and traditional character of the scheme and most will also have a private swimming pool. Prices start at a little over €300,000 for a one-bedroom property, up to €582,900 for a four bedroom house (excluding tax).
The Tarn is often referred to as the Tuscany of France and compared with The Cotswolds some 50 years ago. Traditionally the Dordogne property market has thrived with British holiday home owners, but the lesser known Tarn is now emerging as a serious option – favoured for its beauty and enviable climate.
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