Second homes in France proving popular with overseas buyers, led by the British

More people are buying second homes in France with the latest report revealing that the biggest group of owners who are non-residents are British and their favourite region is the Rhône-Alpes.

Overall the number of foreign buyers who do not live in the country increased by 2% in 2017 compared with the previous year, accounting for sales amounting to €5.29 billion, slightly above 2016’s €5.27 billion.

While the British still make up the biggest group of non-resident home owners, the numbers fell by 18% year on year, but the number of British buyers who live in France increased by 17%, according to the research from BNP Paribas International.

The second biggest group of non-resident buyer are from Belgium with 18.4% of sales in 2017, a rise of 21%, followed by the Swiss at 8.1%, Germans 7%, Italians and Dutch 5.5% and buyers from the United States at 3%.

The top location for second homes for British buyers is Rhône-Alpes at 15.4%, followed by Aquitaine at 13% and the Limousin region at 10.7%. They spend the most in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) at €741,000, then in Ile-de-France at €526,000 and Rhône-Alpes, at €439,000.

Overall some regions are proving to be less popular with overseas second home owners. PACA recorded a decline of 11% in sales to this market while Brittany was down 10%, and Rhône-Alpes down 8%. The Ile-de-France saw a rise of 3% and Aquitaine a rise of 6%.

Of the 3% rise in sales to overseas second home owners in the Ile-de-France some 54% was in Paris, spending on average €819,000 on a property, significantly more than the Ile-de-France average.

In 2017, the Americans were the non-resident foreigners who invested the most in Paris with an average of €1 billion, the research also shows.

The report suggests that the sales market to overseas non-resident buyers is set to continue to be buoyant as France will always be more attractive for investors because of its intrinsic advantages such as regional diversity, legal framework, and advantageous low interest rates. It forecasts that prices will continue to rise.

According to Richard Malle, global head of research BNP Paribas Real Estate, even if interest rates rise, the demand will always be there, particularly in popular areas where there is a lack of supply.

‘Beach resorts or mountain resorts, for example, should see their prices rise with a strong appetite from French and foreign buyers,’ he added.