Unless you have been living in an underground bunker (actually, the thought of that doesn’t seem so unappealing in 2020), you will have undoubtedly seen Boris Johnson and the UK governments latest position with regards to potentially breaking international law and renegotiating the ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal.
Whether Johnson and co are playing hardball and trying out their best poker faces, or are hellbent on dragging the UK out of the EU without a deal isn’t exactly clear at the moment. There is still a chance that a deal will be struck and the PM comes out as some kind of national hero, but currently it looks like this aggressive and controversial stance could end up with the UK leaving Europe without a deal, with Boris looking like a pantomime villain, time will tell.
Anyway, we should really leave that kind of political chat to the experts and focus on the important stuff – What does this all mean if you wish to purchase a property in France?
Without a crystal ball, we have no definite answers on how things will look for UK residents looking to buy a holiday home or relocate permanently to France in 2021. We know things will change, but we cannot be 100% sure how much. At Home Hunts, we work with clients from all over the world, there are no restrictions on who buys a property here and whatever the outcome of Brexit, we will be here to guide you through the French buying process from start to finish.
We have seen a real surge of UK buyers this summer, lots of people are keen to buy their property now and secure their foothold in France before the end of this year. Buying a property in France takes 8-12 weeks generally, so if you are keen to buy a property in France before Brexit, the time is now!
The temporary UK quarantine situation is frustrating, but the serious buyers are not being deterred by the fact that they will have to quarantine when they return home. There is no quarantine for UK citizens entering France at present, so you can fly, drive or catch the train to France and be looking at properties immediately if you wish. If you are unable to travel for any reason, we can arrange virtual visits and property videos for clients. Contact us if you would like to speak to one of the team for more details about buying a property in France.
Here is what we know so far regarding life after Brexit, we hope it is useful:
Will there be a limit on the amount of time you can spend at your French holiday home ?
If you are a UK citizen that owns a holiday home in the France, the number of days you can visit your second home each year will be limited once the UK leaves the EU.
UK citizens travelling to the EU for holidays are likely to require an electronic travel authorisation (similar to an ESTA that you need for trips to the US). The details for this authorisation have yet to be published, but it seems likely it will be valid for a set period of time (perhaps yearly) and will allow unlimited visits during this time, as long as they do not exceed six months in total. This may be a fairly simple process, but we are waiting for the details of this to be made public and are no doubt tied up with the current Brexit negotiations.
Will taxes increase for UK owners of French property?
There are suggestions that larger mortgage deposits will be required for UK buyers once they are outside the EU, this is the case for non-EU citizens generally and it seems unlikely that the UK will be given special treatment. UK owners could also have higher taxes imposed on rental income. None of this can be confirmed for sure right now.
As well as the Brexit negotiations to clear up, there is likely to be a real push post-COVID, by all countries around the world to encourage investment from international buyers, so there could be some attractive incentives to come for overseas clients. Without wishing to repeat ourselves too much, time will tell….
Will it be harder to relocate permanently to France for UK citizens in 2021?
In a word, Yes.
If you’ve decided to move to France before 2021, there is still time to do so this year, but the buying process takes around 8-12 weeks so you need to get your skates on.
As negotiations continue, there is a hope that long term reciprocal agreements are agreed between the UK and EU. The current agreement guarantees the rights of UK nationals who are living in Europe before the end of 2020, they will be allowed to remain in their country of choice for five years, but you must register for a settlement scheme before this date (which can be done online). This scheme will mean that you have chosen France (for example) as your main place of residence, you will be subject to French tax and will be free to travel as normal, the retired will also have their pension rights guaranteed, but as a resident, you will be expected to be based in France for at least 6 months of the year.
If you are looking to relocate permanently to France after 1 January 2021, you will have to abide by French or European immigration rules and free movement will not be as straight forward. UK citizens will have to apply for a visa to show that they have the right and the means to live and/or work in France.
As previously mentioned, at Home Hunts, it is our job to guide international buyers through the French buying process. If you are looking for some advice about a future purchase, a general chat about the market or you want to buy immediately, we are here to help you. Visit our website to search through thousands of stunning French properties, call us on +33 970 44 66 43 or send us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org