Words: Caroline Harrap
As negotiations for Brexit get under way, British property investors could be forgiven for feeling a little twitchy, wondering what it all means for them. However, whilst no one can say with any certainty what the coming months will hold, the word on the street is that it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference for those wanting to buy in France.
For one thing, not being part of the EU has done nothing to deter people in far-flung places such as the USA, Australia and Asia. Granted, there might be a bit more red tape involved but the fact remains that it is absolutely possible for them to buy in France – and, in fact, a high proportion of our own clients come from those parts of the world. There’s no reason to believe that the situation will be any different for the Brits – and, frankly, there’s every chance that there’ll be some kind of special status anyway.
Even if Britain does leave the single market, there’s likely to be some basic provisions in place, in a manner similar to countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Ultimately, we all benefit from trading with each other – and that includes France being able to export to the UK. No one wants to see an end to that spirit of entente cordiale – the French included.
A buying boom
And even if we can’t be certain what comes next, we only need to look at what’s happened so far to see a pattern emerging. Whilst we did see a wobble in the British market straight after the referendum, this was more to do with weaker pound than people giving up on their plans altogether. In fact, things soon picked up again and the market has remained active since. In some cases, it has even accelerated with British buyers keen to act now in order to avoid any possible post-Brexit taxes that may ensue or, worse, an economic crash.
It’s also worth remembering that Brits investing in buy-to-let properties in Paris are now reaping the rewards of the stronger euro in their rental returns. For that reason, if anything, the investment market is only likely to increase. We also offer a special currency service that can offer protection from future fluctuations, so now could well be a good time to take advantage of that stronger euro.
Another way to circumnavigate the weaker pound is with a French mortgage. With interest rates in France at a record low (at the time of writing anyway), if you can get a French mortgage, then you’re laughing. In fact, some purchasers are taking out a French mortgage even if they can afford to buy outright.
The Macron effect
Ultimately, with demand for property in Paris greater than ever, investors are more or less guaranteed a good return on their investment, with prices likely to continue rising. What is more, if Macron gets his way and the big financial companies end up moving from London to Paris as a result of Brexit, there’s going to be an even greater demand for properties in the French capital.
One way or the other, here at VINGT Paris, our role is to help and advise investors through every step of the process, ensuring they get the best deal possible – and that remains the same regardless of what may be happening on the wider political stage.