News and property information on the French property market. Read our market updates and interesting insights into the real estate market in France. Information on properties for sale in France as well as data and statistical reports on what is happening in the property market in France.

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Emerging markets such as Bulgaria may be getting large amounts of publicity over their investment potential, but it appears to be the old favourites which remain top with investors.

According to a new study carried out by foreign currency specialist HIFX, March 2006 saw further demand in France and Spain from UK investors. The research found that together, the two countries made up almost half of all the currency transactions carried out by HIFX during the month.

With 43 per cent of the transactions being carried out by people buying in either France or Spain, the research reveals that there remain large attractions for investors in the two countries and as yet that interest has not been particularly dampened by the emerging markets.

HIFX’s research also confirmed previous studies highlighting the fact that more people are now looking abroad for investment opportunities and a large minority are looking further afield, with Australia coming in as the third most popular place to buy a second home. Meanwhile, Bulgaria turned in another good performance in the market during March, coming in fourth in HIFX’s league. People are still flocking to Bulgaria to invest in the emerging property development sector there, due to the fact that it is on the verge of entry to the European Union (EU). When that occurs in 2007, property prices in the country are expected to rocket even more quickly than at present.

Bulgaria accounted for ten per cent of the overall transactions carried out by HIFX during March and it is anticipated that the country will see a greater share of that money by the time it is granted EU accession next year.

So-called ‘hot spot investors’ are becoming more common in the UK and it is anticipated that this category of people, who are looking for property purely for investment purposes, will help to drive up the share of investment in Bulgaria.

However, the country has a long way to go before it manages to catch up with the property investment currently being poured into the more traditional destinations of France and Germany. That is because these two destinations have managed to remain popular with the growing number of people who want to use their investment as a source of funds during their retirement. This group are not yet persuaded by the opportunities offered by emerging markets because of the potential for a dip in such areas’ inflation.

France and Spain have shown themselves to be reliable over many years and this kind of security is why they both remain such popular destinations for buy-to-let investors from the UK.

Source: Assetz News

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France and Spain remain the most popular choice for overseas property buyers, according to a new survey.

This is because the majority of British overseas property buyers are ‘traditionalists’ who see their overseas purchase either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to.

But a growing number of more adventurous Brits and hot spot investors are driving up the popularity of more far-flung destinations like Canada, Bulgaria and New Zealand.

Foreign currency specialist HIFX reports that France and Spain made up almost half (43 per cent) of all its currency transactions for buying property abroad in March.

Australia was in third place with 11 per cent of transactions, followed by Bulgaria (ten per cent), USA (four per cent), Canada (two per cent) and South Africa (one per cent).

The majority of Brits are looking for an overseas property that can be used for regular holidays, is easily rentable, with cheap flights, and offers a quick escape to the sun.

Those considering retiring abroad are also looking for a well established expat community to help them feel at home.

But HIFX has identified a more adventurous group of Brits the adventurers who are buying overseas property in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

This group does not mind travelling long distances in search of a more exotic location than the traditionalists, and often consider emigrating to their holiday home at some point.

For this reason they do not want the hassle of a language barrier and are seeking somewhere that is culturally similar to that of the UK.

A further group of Brits hot spot investors  are buying overseas property primarily for financial gain.

They are looking to places like Bulgaria and Dubai, which could offer excellent investment returns because they are up-and-coming holiday destinations and have rising house prices.

HIFX marketing director Mark Bodega said: “People buy abroad for many different reasons but they tend to fall into three main categories.

“For some it’s an emotional decision based on a lifelong dream, for others it’s an exciting step into the unknown and for some it’s simply a financial investment.”


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In recent years, there has undoubtedly been a significant shift in investment attitudes within the UK, with a growing number now prepared to buy property in emerging markets.

With Bulgaria attracting a huge amount of interest from investors keen on making the most of the forthcoming accession to the European Union, it is perhaps unsurprising that it has almost stolen the thunder from some of the more traditional investment choices.

Regularly compared to Spain in the 1980s, Bulgaria certainly has huge potential for growth, helped by the fact that it now has an enviable reputation not only for the beauty of the Black Sea resorts but also for its stunning ski slopes.

Nonetheless, France should not be ignored, according to property developer Trisha Mason, not least because it is a much more stable market.

“Fashion has pointed to such countries as Bulgaria or Romania where the entry price is a lot lower but where there is no clear exit strategy,” wrote Ms Mason in an article for 999 Today.

“Whilst such emerging markets may be interesting for a good value holiday home, for the property investor they could be a cause of concern,” she suggested.

Many investors would dispute the claim, and there are certainly numerous case studies of individuals making huge gains on their investments in Bulgaria.

At the same time, however, it is undeniable that France represents the safer bet at the moment and it is certainly a choice that boasts several advantages over its European rivals.

Primarily, according to Ms Mason, France has a stable market and also has a proven track record. Property investors, while notoriously keen on speculating, also like to see evidence of former growth and France can certainly illustrate this.

Last year, the country enjoyed capital growth of around 15 per cent, while experts are predicting a further nine to 11 per cent growth this year. While some areas in Bulgaria are likely to see growth well in excess of this figure, the unpredictability of the market means that the risk factor is fairly high.

Ms Mason has also pointed to the fact that France has extremely good rental investment potential, because of its status as a leading country for tourism. When investors consider the fact that there is continuously high demand for property in France, it is difficult to argue with the fact that it remains a European hotspot.

A further advantage of France is the leaseback scheme, which has been supported by Assetz managing director Stuart Law. It was originally conceived in an attempt to boost tourism and construction in the country and it has developed into a favourite investment policy for many from the UK in particular.

As recapped by Ms Mason, the French government will refund the VAT of 19.6 per cent after the contract is signed, while investors also have the advantage of being able to rely on the rental company to look after the property in terms of cleaning and maintenance.

With freehold property available as well, France certainly offers an impressive range of options for investors and there is no doubting its status as a leading European investment choice.

At the same time, savvy property investors will be keeping a close eye on Bulgaria and other emerging markets, with most analysts expecting significant growth within the next decade.

Source: Assetz News