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Property in France

Getting to know France

France has long been popular with expats from around the world, with much to offer both property investors and holiday home owners alike. Known for the quality and favourable pace of life for those who live there, the character properties and low mortgages available, as well as the impressive healthcare and welfare systems, France is the third largest economy in Europe and offers a wide range of locations and properties for investment.

With its breadth of terrain and lifestyle, rich history and enviable culture, France holds enduring appeal as a destination for both holidaymakers and expats – as well as the odd commuter! The food and wine are world renowned and plentiful, there’s plenty to see and do (outdoors and indoors), beautiful countryside and coastline, mountains and ski resorts galore! Stylish shopping and fabulous markets are a key feature of French life, and part of the joy of day to day living.

Like many property markets in and around Europe, the French property market was badly hit by the late-Noughties financial crisis, and while French property wasn’t reduced to bargain basement prices (as seen in countries like Spain and Portugal), they generally remain well under UK averages. Many property buyers in France are from overseas: in 2016, 14% of buyers were from the UK and 20% of buyers were from Italy. The latest property market reports for 2017 French property sales list 958,000 annual sales of property in France to October 2017, which may turn in to a figure of one million French properties sold when the final year figures are verified. The areas with the biggest increases in property sales in 2017 were Bas-Rhin, Landes and Charente-Maritime, each seeing around 30% more property buyers than in the previous year. Find out more about what properties are selling in the most popular areas of France.

The Eiffel tower in Paris French grapes in the vineyardA french castle overlooking the hills

Capital City:
Time Zone:
GMT +1
Euro (EUR)
Average national property price:
*220,059 Euros
Highest average property price by region:
343,600 Euros – Toulon
Lowest average property price by region:
*100,000 Euros – Chateauroux
Average Temperatures:
January 6°C, February 7°C, March 12°C,
April 16°C, May 20°C, June 23°C,
July 25°C, August 24°C, September 21°C
October 16°C, November 10°C, December 7°C

*source: Notaries de France (third quarter 2016)

Fun facts about France

  • Covering an area of more than 551,000 square kilometres, France is the largest country in the EU, accounting for almost a fifth of the European Union’s total area.
  • Although French is the country’s official language, and the first language of 88 percent of the population, there are various indigenous regional dialects and languages, such as Alsacian, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Occitan and Flemish.
  • French is also the second most spoken mother tongue in Europe, after German, but is expected to become number one by 2025.
  • Paris Gare du Nord is easily Europe’s busiest railway station, with some 190 million passengers passing through each year.
  • France’s highest point, also the highest point in Europe, is Mont Blanc, standing at 4,807 metres high.
  • With around 80 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third-largest income in the world from tourism.
  • Europe’s largest canyon, the plunging Gorges du Verdon – also known as the Grand Canyon of Verdon – slices a 16-mile swathe through Provence’s limestone plateau.
  • The hottest temperature ever recorded in France was 44.1oC – in Conqueyrac, a commune in the Gard department of southern France (August 2003).
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in France was -41.8oC – in Mouthe, a commune in the Doubs department, in a region of the Jura Mountains known – with good reason – as ‘Little Siberia.’

Deciding on your preferred location and property type

France is a diverse country, which offers something to suit every lifestyle and taste. From the bright lights of Paris – one of the world’s truly great cities – to the rolling countryside of the central regions; from the climate and idyllic lifestyle on offer in Southern France; to the stunning Alpine and Pyrenees mountain landscapes… quite simply, France has a location that will appeal to young families, retirees and everyone in between.

The advent of low-cost flights into regional airports over the past two decades has opened up areas of France that were once largely ignored by everyone, save the French themselves. This has led to substantial parts of the country where lifestyle costs are still very low; and where properties can be purchased at next to rock bottom prices – now being discovered by overseas property seekers.

A map of France

2Map of France showing all the regions

Investment Property 

If you are eyeing a property purely for investment purposes, it may be worth investigating the Residence de Tourisme, or French Leaseback scheme. Leasebacks are fairly common in areas popular with tourists, particularly ski resorts. Through this scheme, you will be allowed access to your property for a limited period each year (usually a few weeks, out of peak season) while the rest of the time it will be let to tenants. By signing for a French leaseback scheme, you become the freehold owner of a furnished property. The length of the leaseback is usually between 9 and 11 years (renewable). You are usually guaranteed around a 5 percent net annual return on your property, and it will be cared for by a dedicated management agency. You will also be entitled to get the VAT back on your purchase as it can be paid and reclaimed by the developer in which case you will pay less than you would for a similar type of property. Find out more about investment property in France.

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