A survey undertaken by French bank BNP Paribas shows that Britons bought more second homes in France during 2013 than any other nationality. The number of British purchasers rose by 5% during the year, with most purchases in the Loire, Charente and Limousin areas, rather than the more expensive regions of the Alps and the Côte d'Azur.
In the prime area of Paris, Britons bought just 3% of the homes bought by foreigners, as interest from ultra-wealthy Russian and Chinese buyers picked up through the year.
Average house prices for France are now at €448,000 and the average euro mortgage is €354,000 although transaction volumes have continued a downward trend, to just less than 13,000 in 2013 from 15,000 in 2012.
The findings of the survey were noted by offshoreonline, an advisor to UK expatriates who attribute the increase in number of British buying property in France reflects the recovery in the UK property market.
Offshoreonline's Tim Harvey commented that France has weathered the economic crisis better than Spain , making the country a " sound investment in its own right, " adding that: " Mortgages in France offer a huge variety of choice to the buyer from simple variable rates through to capped, fixed and long-term fixed rates. Banks will often allow deposits of just 15%, with lower rates available for those with higher deposits. "
The highly-developed mortgage market in France represents value to overseas buyers, attracted by the flexibility of terms and low associated taxes and fees.
Harvey also pointed out that the European Central Bank's interest rates are at their lowest ever levels with many banks now offering variable rate Euro mortgages from just 2.3%.
Britons are increasingly looking overseas for investment opportunities in real estate in response to spiralling house prices in the UK, together with increased lending restrictions imposed by mortgage providers.