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Why buy property in France

An article considering the pros and cons of buying property in France

Why choose France?

France has it all: unspoilt beaches, fascinating mediaeval towns, pristine mountains, stylish cities and of course a culture based on the best things in life, haute cuisine and fine wine. Few other countries have such an great mix of scenery, culture, history and sophistication, with a very pleasant climate. Perhaps most enticing of all, property tends to be excellent value for money.

Quality of French life

For me, quality of life is heavily based on eating and drinking good things! In many areas of France, it is difficult to find a bad meal or poor value for money. (As in all countries, touristy areas and big cities rarely reflect the good qualities found elsewhere.) The experience of a simple French breakfast: crisp, fluffy croissants and perfect aromatic coffee or a bowl of rich, creamy hot chocolate makes a perfect start to the day. Foods that are an expensive luxury in Britain are part of everyday life in France. Local people demand the highest quality, so you won't have to worry about sub-standard produce.

The French property market

As a general rule, the value of French property increases roughly in line with inflation. Unless you buy in a fashionable area, you are unlikely to make a quick profit and so buying a property in France should be viewed as an investment in your happiness rather than purely for financial gain. That said, the relative stability of the French property market makes most investments hold their own.

The advantages of living in France:

  • Reliable summer sunshine
  • Cheap land prices
  • Reasonable house prices
  • Solid construction of rural homes
  • Local tradesmen using high quality materials
  • Stable property market
  • Easy/cheap access from Britain
  • Excellent food and wine at reasonable prices
  • More relaxed pace of life
  • Friendliness and openness of French people

The disadvantages of living in France:

  • Unforeseen renovation costs
  • Buying at a high price and being unable to make any profit on sale
  • Financial over-commitment
  • The threat of damage by inclement weather
  • Being unable to speak or understand the language

(Bear in mind most of these are found in the UK too.)

Research the process and be patient!

The key to a successful purchase is research and a little patience! It is easy to be seduced by images of an idyllic retreat in any country, but impulse buys can of course prove to be financially disastrous. Think of the process of buying a house in Britain where you are familiar with the country, language, legal system and culture. Then apply the same caution to your search for a property in France. Make sure you read up on the legal process and get sound financial advice before you start.

your questions...

1. A question about buying property in France if a non EU citizen (added 24/1/13)...

What are the considerations for non EU citizens, such as US citizens, in buying property in France?

Our reply...

Thanks for contacting us. Though I'm afraid that as we are a UK-based site, I don't have the information you require available. Perhaps it would be worth contacting the French Embassy where you live, to find this out? Or speak to a legal advisor?

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