France is Favourite for Brits Buying Overseas Property

France and Spain remain the favourite destinations for expats and second homers looking to buy a place in the sun.

More than half of all international mortgage inquiries handled by brokers Conti were for property in the two countries.

Nearly a third (31%) opted for France, while Spain notched 22% of inquiries this year.

Last year, the two countries took 29% of all international mortgage inquiries.

Turkey retained third place with a 13% share of offshore home loan calls. Portugal and Ireland are rising in popularity in fourth and fifth places, while the USA and Bulgaria are dropping out of favour with property investors.

Good rental returns

Clare Nessling, Operations Director, of Conti ( said: “In the current economic climate, British buyers are sticking to the more traditional overseas locations, especially those with history of providing good rental returns. The smart investor is no longer simply looking to where the best bargains for a swift return can be found, but to where security lies for a longer term investment.

“Last year, the concentration of some investors on emerging markets was starting to erode the lead of the traditional ones. This year, the tables have turned. Buyers are sticking to locations they know and trust, but it’s not that alone; affordable prices, low interest rates, easy access and good rental yields have all contributed to the enduring attraction of these destinations.”

France continues to enjoy a stable market, explained Nessling, mostly due to sensible lending by banks. Now, banks are willing to lend to foreign investors up to 100% loan-to-value.

“It has become an increasingly attractive investment option, not least because of low interest rates, but also due to lower property prices, with many sellers dropping their prices to levels we’ve not seen for several years. It’s a buyer’s market!” she said.

Cheap homes in Spain

Spain was the top placed property investment destination for Brits last year, but has slipped behind France in recent months.

Prices are cheap because of an oversupply of homes, while banks are willing to package repossessed properties with attractive finance deals to try to shift bad debts off their balance sheets.

“Buyers are in a strong position due to the number of homes available, low interest rates, and the opportunity to negotiate price reductions from motivated vendors,” said Nessling.

“Although it will continue to experience problems in areas with exposure to corrupt licensing laws or land grab issues, Spain has a lot to offer, and you can still buy with confidence, as long as you buy sensibly and treat your property as an investment over the long term. It seems that our love affair with this country is far from over.”

1 thought on “France is Favourite for Brits Buying Overseas Property”

  1. It is certainly a buyers’ market in France but that does not mean you should buy any old property and expect it to keep or gain in value. The market is thick with disappointed Brits trying to sell property that they paid too much for in the first place for even more! Far more interesting are properties that the French are selling – at current market rates – with built-in revenue-producing capabilities: gites and gite complexes in tourist areas of South-West France. This is where the bargains are to be found.


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