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Buying a home in France: here’s what you need to know about home-buying in France this year

The romance of owning property in France has been around for many years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and who could question that with the image of a seductive lifestyle, a mix of tranquil countryside locations and historic towns and cities, fantastically diverse scenery throughout and access to Atlantic, Mediterranean and alpine resorts. All of course relatively close proximity. 

Living in France has often been perceived as a place to enjoy and sample life’s simple pleasures. A place for family and friends to enjoy food and wine, relax in fine weather and enjoy a pace of life that’s more pleasurable, something most people would probably crave as we continue to try and navigate work-life balance amidst lockdowns and tiers across the UK.

France is a country boasting land mass twice the size of the UK with super road, rail and air transportation systems making it hard to ignore as a destination to buy property. It is no surprise then to hear that the property market in France has been busy with UK customers since lockdown measures were relaxed there in mid-May, according to Jack Harris of Knight Frank.

From historic cities packed with thrilling architecture to rural landscapes of vines, sunflowers and lavender, from coasts on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean to celebrated Alpine resorts, France covers all the bases.

“The property market has been remarkably busy since lockdown measures began to ease in France in Mid-May,” says Jack Harris of Knight Frank.

“Travel restrictions mean that initially we witnessed a wave of domestic French appetite and now that has been followed by international buyers. There is definite pent-up demand resulting in a high number of enquiries and an encouraging number of transactions at all price points.”

FranceHarris cites the French lifestyle as a major factor in Britons’ decisions to consider a French holiday home, along with the recent emphasis on working from home. “As more people realise they can feasibly work remotely, they see they can use a holiday home more frequently than they initially anticipated,” he adds.

The increased desire for rural property is something that Jelena Cvjetkovic of Savills has also noted. “The British love affair with France has not waned and we are seeing plenty of interest, notably in the southwest around the Dordogne,” she says.

“Today’s buyer is looking for something a little more rural but by no means remote with plenty of outdoor space and that all-important wifi. We anticipate buyers will choose to spend more time in their second homes, perhaps staying for longer periods of time rather than frequent shorter trips.”

Buying a home in France

Amid Covid-19

Inspired to start house hunting? France is now open after its own lengthy and strict Covid-19 lockdown and as it is on the UK Government’s list of safe travel corridors, there is no need to self-isolate either on arrival or return from a trip there.

Eurostar and Eurotunnel are both operating regular services and BA, Air France, EasyJet and Ryanair are flying from the UK to France.

Since July 20, masks are compulsory in most public spaces. For the latest information, bookmark


Brexit should not affect the right to buy, sell or rent holiday homes in France for British passport holders.

Throughout the transition period, France, along with all of the EU, has kept the same rules as pre-Brexit and anyone who becomes a resident in France before December 31, 2020 will keep all their current EU rights, pensions and healthcare.

Anyone buying a holiday home in France and planning to stay less than three months a year should not see any change at all to the process after the transition period. It is possible, though not confirmed, that Britons who wish to stay for longer than six months at a time, for example, retirees, students and workers, might require a visa.

So while it might be bureaucratically easier to buy property before Brexit is completed this coming New Year’s Eve, it will still be legal and a relatively straightforward process afterwards, just as it is for many non-EU citizens now.

It is possible that non-EU residents may not be able to borrow as much for a mortgage as EU residents can — though this has not been confirmed at this stage. But as Jack Harris from Knight Frank points out, mortgage rates are currently historically low across Europe, allowing buyers to stretch their budgets further.

If all of this pro France chatter has inspired you to buy your first French Gite then look no further. 

France currently welcomes British Passport holders to buy, sell or rent properties and we do not expect this to change post-Brexit. If you consider throughout the whole negotiations period with the UK and the EU, France has maintained the same rules pre Brexit and anyone wishing to be a resident of France before December 31st 2020 will retain all their EU rights, pensions and healthcare. Those buying holiday homes or planning on staying for under 3 months per anum should not expect to see any changes to the process post-transition period. Those staying longer than this may well see a VISA request come in but there is no news of this just yet, only speculation.

Pre or post Brexit it appears to be fairly straightforward to purchase property in France and with mortgage rates across Europe remaining historically low, buyers can expect to stretch their budgets a little further than perhaps anticipated and maybe purchase something a little better than first imagined. 

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