With over 1,200 property agents who list their properties on our website we are not short of finding agents keen to share with us their views on how Brexit could affect the French Property Market.

One leading property agent, Peter Elias from Allez Français was able to paint a clearer picture.

With over 1,200 property agents who list their properties on our website we are not short of finding agents keen to share with us their views on how Brexit could affect the French Property Market.

One leading property agent, Peter Elias from Allez Français was able to paint a clearer picture.

Q. When will any changes for property purchase/selling come into place?

New Prime Minister Theresa May has the choice of whether or not to instigate ‘Article 50’ and trigger the leaving process. Negotiations will take up to two years to complete making it most likely to be autumn 2018 before we experience any changes.

Q. They are talking of four options, what are these options?

  1. Britain becomes a member of the European Economic Area – the Norway model (rumored to be the most likely outcome)
  2. Britain becomes a member of the European Free Trade Association – the Swiss model
  3. There is a bilateral treaty – the Turkish model
  4. The World Trade Organisation model

To reassure us our government has said:

“EU citizens living in France will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down.”

However, this is only until we exit.

Q. Will I still have the right to move to France?

The right to move to France hopefully will not become significantly more difficult. I believe that long as you can show no criminal record and can support yourself financially, i.e. have sufficient capital and or income, you should still be able to move to France. You may have to apply for a residency permit or ‘carte de séjour’, but otherwise France is an easy country to move to. It is difficult to imagine that France will create new rules especially for the British because they left the EU.

If Britain remains outside the Schengen Area then border controls will remain. Technically the French Government could impose some kind of time limit spent in the country but with 400,000 French citizens in the UK this is beyond improbable.

Q. Should I change all my currency at once

Many people ask which currency they should keep their funds in, thinking it has to be all in one or the other. It is not wise to move to a Eurozone country and not have any euros, however, you can still have funds in your home country at the same time.

Currency markets don’t like uncertainty and until there is certainty around the new government under Theresa May, certainty around ‘Article 50’ and certainty around Brexit negotiations there will be continued volatility.

Sterling is down but not as low as it has been. We cannot know the direction of travel but we know that sterling can go much lower as we have seen it before.

It would be logical to plan ahead, that is why discussing this with a currency expert is key. Calculate your needs and future taxes – seek professional guidance and be sure that you are covered for that period. The rest can stay in sterling if you wish, but be sure in the knowledge that you can access money in euros whilst the volatility continues.

Talking to a currency specialist is important when moving your funds abroad as they can help you save money on your transactions, helping you budget your funds. Our sister company Foremost Currency Group are specialists in foreign currency exchange and can help you make the most of your currency.

Understanding the tax system in a new country can be daunting, but Kentingtons are French tax and investment specialists. They can help guide you through the French tax system, making sure you don’t lose money and have your finances in order.

Q. Can I still receive health cover?

For the time being your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to give you state healthcare at a reduced rate and sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions.

Q. Will property prices decrease over coming months?

I do not expect that there will be any price decreases over the months ahead because of Brexit. What may happen is that some prices will “soften” as sellers returning to the UK take advantage of the falling £ and get more for their money because of the currency benefits. Some houses will also reduce in price because they were over-optimistically priced to start with, so not really falling house prices in the true sense of the word.

Q. Are there any changes to the cost of buying a permanent home?

The cost of property purchase and taxes payable will not change.

If you are retired and Britain becomes a member of the EEA your pension and health entitlements would be protected.  However, it’s possible (we think unlikely) that Britain could negotiate a deal whereby you would have to prove you have enough retirement income to live on and that you have your own, private health insurance.  As an example, US citizens can take their US pensions to France and they just inform the US tax authorities that they pay French tax on it.

It may mean a permanent move would involve additional red tape and the potential extra expense of private health insurance.

Q. Will there be any changes to the property taxes I pay?

No, however potentially there could be an extra charge for a fiscal representative of around 1% of the value of the property post Brexit.

Q. Will I still be able to work in France?

Almost certainly yes. With 400,000 French citizens in London alone we can’t see any barriers being put up in this area.

Q. Will I still be able to get a French mortgage?

Yes. Brexit will not affect you getting a French mortgage in any way. We recommend you speak to a French mortgage adviser. Foremost Property Group recommend French Mortgage.

Q. What’s going to happen to the exchange rate?

Nobody knows for sure and it’s likely to be volatile. The pound has fluctuated against the euro and it remains to be seen what the long term effect of Brexit is. (Editor’s note: we advise you to speak to our sister company Foremost Currency Group, they offer free expert advice and can help you to make the most of your currency.)

Q. How have the French reacted to the Brexit news?

They are shocked, but generally very sympathetic to us as Expats and our situation. They feel that the vote was a bit of a disaster because of the background lies. They have also criticised the way the referendum was structured not needing a higher % to say “exit” out of the overall voting public.

We think that we could be about to see a “Brexodus” – a significant number of people leaving the UK for France and other destinations because of the Brexit vote. An increasing number of clients have advised us over recent days that they are now “more committed than ever” to make that move to France, with many comments such as “we don’t like the direction the UK is heading and wish to move to another country and remove ourselves from the negative ethos being created in the UK.”

We think that Brexodus could be our new business opportunity!

 

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