Time to invest in French property?

PUBLISHED: 19:51 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:35 20 February 2013

Time to invest in French property?

Time to invest in French property?

Now could be the time to make an investment on a second home across the Channel - and the French Property Exhibition at Olympia is a good place to start looking

Why buy a property in France now?

With austerity measures being the expression du jour at the moment, it might not immediately seem like a good time to turn your thoughts to buying a French property. However, French Property News editor Karen Tait says youd be wrong to think this. 'In fact, there are many reasons why canny buyers are turning their attentions to property across the Channel right now,' she comments.

'For starters, over the past couple of years, vendors have been forced to amend their sale prices downwards, resulting in a buyers market where purchasers have a choice of many properties at prices not seen for years. It really is the time to bag a bargain but experts are predicting prices will be on the rise again soon, indeed theyre already turning round in some parts of France, so those bargains wont stick around for long.

'In addition, the improving strength of sterling against the euro means you can get more for your money now than at any time over the past 19 months,' she adds. 'And whats more, some mortgage companies are offering their best rates ever, making French property an even more attractive proposition.'

France has an enduring appeal for the British, whether for holidays, holiday homes or permanent moves. Our nearest neighbour is in some ways familiar most of us learned at least a little French at school and in others exotic and glamorous think the Cannes film festival or the Champs Elysees. Arguably rural Frances traditional lifestyle is the biggest draw for us Brits though who can say theyve never dreamt of their own country cottage, surrounded by vineyards or sunflower fields. Or perhaps a grand chateau, a ski chalet, a seaside apartment or a city pied-a-terre is more your thing?

With returns on savings being at an all-time low, why not put your hard-earned cash into a French property instead of the bank. While the French property market has always been more about a lifestyle choice rather than investment, in the long term a French property purchase is almost guaranteed to deliver a capital gain, and if you rent your property out when not using it yourself, you could even bring in an income. The French market is safe and stable its been less affected by the global recession than other countries due in part to its strict lending criteria and the buying process is firmly regulated and very protective of the buyer.

In terms of where people are buying, the old favourites remain popular, such as the Dordogne, Provence and Brittany. However, pioneering overseas purchasers have already mapped out the rest of France, and locations that offer similar scenery and attractions but cheaper property prices than their better-known neighbours Languedoc-Roussillon instead of Provence, for example, or Limousin instead of Dordogne are also on property buyers radar.

While older character properties are still at the top of many peoples wishlist, other are now opting for low-maintenance, lock-up-and-leave new-builds, while those seeking a hassle-free investment may decide to buy via the French government-backed leaseback scheme.

The dream of having a few gtes to bring in a centime or a few is still going strong both up-and-running businesses and properties with outbuildings to convert remain sought after. With more younger people buying in France, businesses in general are popular everything from fishing lakes to B&Bs to village shops.

'With so much choice, and options for every budget, now really is a good time to start your property hunt in France,' concludes Karen.

Visit the French Property Exhibition

For anyone on a French property hunt, from those at the dreaming stages to those planning viewing trips, the French Property Exhibition - at Olympia, London, from September 26-28, 2010 - is a must.

  • Free entry!

  • Speak to agents about your property wishlist, and browse thousands of property details

  • Get professional legal and financial advice

  • Attend free seminars on the buying process and French legal and tax systems

  • First 100 visitors each day will receive a French Property Buying Guide or Driving in France Guide

  • One lucky visitor will win aweek's spa break in a one-bedroom apartment (sleeps four) inHoulgate, Normandy, courtesy of PV Holidays, complete with a Seafranceferry crossing (to be taken by end of June 2011)

Register for your free tickets now at www.fpeolympia.com

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