Buying property in France as a foreigner can be confusing. To put your mind at ease, we’re guiding you through the purchasing process, the French property market, house prices, and all the pitfalls you’ll need to avoid before putting pen to paper.
Buying property abroad can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. And the same can be said for buying property in France.
On the one hand, you can fulfil your dream of setting up a life in the vineyards of Bordeaux, the romantic city of Paris or the peaceful coast of Provence.
And on the other hand, you’re trying to grasp French law, read contracts in French and buy property in a market you don’t really understand.
Fortunately, with this guide, you can wipe away the woes and bring back the joys of buying property in France as a foreigner.
How easy is it to buy property in France as a non-resident?
Fortunately, there are no restrictions to buying property in France as a non-resident. Although you will have to rattle through some paperwork and pay the right fees.
Firstly, make sure you have a French bank account. It’s not a necessity if you’re buying a holiday home but will make your life a lot easier – and might mean cheaper taxes too.
Then, make copies of your passport, birth certificate and visa (if you have one). You might be asked to show these at different stages of your purchase process.
You can crack on with paying your deposit, notaries fee and taxes once you have this sorted.
Unlike some countries in Europe, there is no Golden Visa available for France. This is residency earned through investment, such as the purchase of property over a certain value.
Buying property in France after Brexit
Buying property should be no issue if you’re a UK citizen. Despite no longer being a member of the EU, UK nationals receive the same rules for buying property as any foreigner.
However, if you’re moving to France from the UK and plan to stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, you will need a visa to do so. But if you’re planning on purchasing property to rent out, you might not need to worry.
Brexit has impacted UK citizens hoping to move to France. If this concerns you, you can find out more with our guide on living in France after Brexit.
The French property market
Since the spring of 2020, property markets around the world have been rattled by the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately for the property market in France, the damage was only temporary.
Sales began to increase towards the end of 2020 and analysts predict a strong recovery in the sector. One of the property market’s strengths is its appeal to foreigners. Last year, foreign buyers accounted for 11% of all properties sold in France.
If you’re unsure about where you’d like to live in France, our guide on the best places to live in France 2021 might be helpful.
House prices in France
House prices in France have been on the rise for a long time. Currently, the housing market is experiencing its highest annual increases since 2011.
The price you pay is largely dependent on where you live and the kind of property you buy. Here is what you can expect to pay for a house in some areas of France.
Additionally, buying property in France is now more expensive than in the UK. According to Numbeo, the average cost per square metre of a city apartment in France is €5,026 (£4,237) and in the UK is €4,951 (£4,175).
For an apartment outside the city, the difference increases further: €3,682 (£3,105) for France and €3,514 (£2,963) for the UK.
Buying property in France pitfalls
As a foreigner, buying property in another country can be a tricky task. And in France, it’s no different.
You’ll be faced with a hearty helping of French property law, contracts written solely in French and a property market that might work differently from one you’re familiar with.
You might find yourself conjuring up nightmare scenarios in your head but buying property in France is generally a smooth process. While you’re going through the steps, here are some crucial pitfalls to avoid:
- Purchasing property with incorrect documentation (e.g. planning permission certificates)
- Misinterpreting the costs of renovations and additional fees
- Signing contracts with a poor understanding of French law
- Falling for sellers with no legal right to sell a property
Although these pose some risks, they can be easily avoided. To ensure you don’t get caught out, make sure you thoroughly research your property agent, the property itself and the condition of the market in your area of purchase.
Property taxes in France for foreigners
In France, whether you’re a foreigner or not, buying residential property means paying two types of taxes: land tax (taxe foncière) and local taxes (taxe d’habitation). These need to be paid every year on 1st January.
The amount you pay is dependent on a few factors. For land tax, you’ll pay the annual rental value of your property multiplied by a percentage set by the local commune. The percentage is unlikely to be more than 1% if the property is your main residence, and 3% if it’s your second home.
The local taxes are only applicable to second homes. The amount you’ll face is dependent on the size and condition of the property, and the local rates.
Send money to buy property in France
If you’re buying property in France as a foreigner, you’ll likely need to send money from abroad. Changing your currency to euros to buy property can be daunting: you might not know where to get the best rates or who to speak to throughout the process.
At Privalgo, we ensure you get the most for your money with our market-leading exchange rates. We’ll also assign you a dedicated Currency Specialist who will learn about your requirements and offer guidance about how to keep your money safe from fluctuating markets.
If you’re interested, book a free chat with a Privalgo Currency Specialist today and see how we can help.Request a quote