Foremost Property Group spoke with William Pearson from Prime French Properties about how the French property market has been changing and why France is still such a hotspot.
Could you tell us a bit about your company and what you do?
Prime French Properties has been established for many years and helps find properties for buyers with the cooperation of French government licensed partner agents. There are around 800 properties on the website www.primefrenchproperties.com with a selection from around 120 partner agents around France. If clients cannot find their ideal property on our website, we will search for them – a human search engine! As we share agency fees with our partner agents when we sell properties, there are no additional fees for our clients.
Which are the most popular regions people buy in and why?
Clients enquiries range from a modest property to a chateau with anything in between. Principal areas of interest have been the Pas de Calais, Normandy, Brittany, Charente, Aquitaine, Languedoc and Provence. They buy for many of the reasons shown below under ‘why to buy in France’.
What do your clients look for in properties in this region?
In the past, many clients looked for rural properties, but this seems to have changed with requests for properties near to, or maybe in, a village or town with shops. There are many isolated rural properties which have been on the market for several years!
Have prices moved in the past year? If yes, please explain.
The French economy has been in trouble for some time and prices have been going down in some areas by 30% or more. (Parts of Normandy for example). The property market in much of France has been very depressed and sadly many estate agents have gone out of business. Speaking to some of our agents, this may be changing with French buyers returning to the market.
Our experience has been mostly with British buyers, so difficult to comment.
Has Brexit impacted on property sales at all?
Brexit has impacted on the property market. There has been a considerable amount of uncertainty as to what the outcome will be for the British with properties in France. Having said this, before the EEC came into being the British bought properties in France without any problems, and the Americans and Australians have been doing so for years without problems. My experience with business contacts and personal friends is that we will always be welcome!
What types of properties are the best sellers and why?
In the past, many buyers bought derelict barns for renovation at a knockabout price, but this may have changed. Unfortunately, many found that the cost of renovation was more, if not much more, than estimated. Hence, quite a lot of part completed renovations are on the market. Buyers generally seem to look for properties in reasonable condition, but may be happy to decorate or update the kitchen or bathroom, but not to have major work.
Is there anything you would recommend clients do before purchasing a property?
We recommend obtaining good professional advice – starting with well-established estate agents, lawyers, mortgage and currency brokers, insurance, financial advisors etc. Brush up on the language – at least a basic knowledge is essential.
We can give advice on what to buy and where as well as going through the buying process with clients. We have built up an enviable list of established government licensed partner agents around France whom we recommend with confidence. (We have met many of them).
Do you offer an after sales service?
Following a sale our partner agents can help with the connection of utility services, helping with documentation and recommending professionals locally if work needs to be done.
France offers a different lifestyle: the speed of life is slower – the French work to live, not live to work! Sundays are for long lunches with family and friends and not DIY. Culture and chic can be found all over France. You will find history and art from the days of pre-historic man to the present day with museums everywhere. The scenery and climate are diverse ranging from the mountains with skiing and other winter sports as well as hiking, climbing etc., to the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic west coast offering all types of water based sports. Much of the countryside is beautiful with rivers lakes and ancient well preserved towns and villages with fine architecture differing from region to region. Health care and education are of a very high standard. Regional gastronomy is superb as well as an
awe-inspiring variety of fine wines – and of course – the café lifestyle.
Anything else you wish to add?
You can buy a chateau in France for the price of a small flat in London!
“Our website shows a selection of properties from most of the partner agents we represent, but by no means reflects the large number of properties available. If you do not see what you are looking for, we will try to find it for you, even if it is not in one of the regions currently represented. Let us know what you would like, where, and your budget.
We are also happy to suggest lawyers, financial advisors, mortgage brokers, insurance companies, and not forgetting Foremost Currency Group – for a great rate of exchange when buying and for future transfers of currency.”
For more information on Prime French Properties, please visit their website: