Brits are buying up property abroad despite Brexit fears and the weak pound

A recent article in the Mail Online highlighted how British buyers are investing in real estate in France, Italy and Spain ahead of Brexit.

Despite rising prices, many have decided to commit to buying a property before the UK leaves the EU to make sure they have a foothold in the European property market.

“There are British owners who are taking advantage of the strong property market in France and the weak pound at present,” Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts, told Mail Online.

Some buyers are also able to take advantage of reduced property prices from some sellers who are choosing to sell as Brexit looms, often reducing the property price for a quick sale.

“We work with clients from all over the world and it isn’t uncommon for European clients (particularly Dutch, Scandinavian and Germans) to ask specifically for properties owned by British owners, because they feel they are more likely to be able to negotiate the price a little further,” says Tim.

With the current sterling euro exchange rate, British owners of a French property will likely be the most flexible because once they have sold in France their money will go a long way back in the UK.

Reduced Riviera property featured in the Mail Online

The Daily Mail featured this stunning property (HH-11900966) from Home Hunts’ impressive luxury property portfolio, which is located in Speracedes, not far from Grasse on the Riviera.

Originally on the market for over €2 million, the British owners have moved back to London and lowered the price to €1.69 million. It was their main residence for many years, but as their children have left home they decided to return back to the UK because two of them are based there.

“They will buy a smaller property in France once they have found a buyer,” adds Tim.

A five-bedroom property high up in the hills with a glorious view over the countryside, this would make a wonderful family home or second home, depending on the needs of the buyer. Well located for both beaches and business, with a heated pool, spacious rooms and elegant decor, it offers comfort and style inside and out.

British interest is increasing despite Brexit

While it’s true that British interest in buying in France dropped after the Brexit referendum – Tim says 54% of buyers were British, which dropped to 20% almost overnight – the market has picked up significantly.

“Enquiries remained low for about four to five months but then they started to build up again,” he explains. “Towards the end of last year, we were seeing a lot more interest from the UK, and this year we have been very busy with Brits and are back to just over 40%.”

For Brits buying aboard, one of the biggest problems now is that it is now more expensive to buy in Europe as the pound is dropping in value. One currency expert told Mail Online that a €1 million property in February, or 2002, would have cost £613,000, but now it would cost £877,000 due to the weak pound. According to Home Hunts however, this has simply meant their British clients are more interested in taking mortgages at present “even those who can buy in cash would rather take a mortgage at the moment” says Tim “interest rates are at an all time low so it makes total sense to borrow if you can, some clients have decided to borrow now and then can choose to pay off their mortgages in the future if they want to, once the pound has gained some value against the euro”.

In terms of where to buy, the Riviera – especially Cannes – always offers stability, but there are certain areas that offer more value for money than others. Properties in Grasse, inland from the Rivera, can cost up to 20% less than those along the coastline. The Fayence area in Provence offers excellent value for money, as does Carcassonne. Here property prices are among the lowest in France, yet the city welcomes four million tourists a year, so for buyers who need rental income to support their purchase, there are plenty of investment opportunities.

To search for luxury property for sale in France, visit www.home-hunts.com, but to speak to a property specialist about your real estate requirements, call+33 (0)970 44 66 43.

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