France has always been a popular holiday destination for the British but a growing numbers of British people are now choosing to give up their life in Britain altogether and move across the Channel permanently.
With the appeal of an eco friendly, rural life growing amidst the shadow of job losses and the threat of global financial insecurity, UK buyers are no longer looking for a quick French getaway, but for a complete lifestyle change.
As well as a desire to opt out of stressful, corporate life, availability and affordability are two of the key factors driving people to start their new lives in France, according to French property expert Patrick Joseph of My-French-House, who specializes in sourcing properties in France for British buyers.
‘When I first started sourcing property for British buyers in 2004 most of my work involved finding second homes and renovation opportunities for investors looking for property in popular holiday destinations that would provide a good rental income over the summer months but there has been a definite shift towards relocation and self sufficiency in recent years,’ said Joseph.
‘An increasing number of enquiries are for small country houses with several acres of land where people can enjoy a greener lifestyle. A rural lifestyle in England comes with a hefty price tag and UK buyers are discovering that they can achieve their dream of a sustainable lifestyle across the Channel far more cheaply,’ he explained.
Prices are proving attractive, He pointed out that in some parts of France such as Poitou Charente and the north Dordogne homes can be picked up for as little as €150,000 to €200,000 and reasonably priced property with land for cultivation is readily available in most parts of France. The Languedoc and Limousin regions, he said, are currently attracting greater interest than usual from buyers looking to benefit from a laid back French lifestyle without the price tag of popular regions such as Provence.
‘Another popular area with eco buyers is the Green Perigord region, which lies to the north of the Dordogne and is one of the most affordable areas in this part of France. The scenery is spectacular so anyone moving here will really feel as if they are living the traditional French country life,’ said Joseph.
France’s reputation as a safe haven for property investors is also contributing to the rising trend of Britons relocating and a growing number of Europeans choosing to invest their money in bricks and mortar rather than stocks, he added.
‘Historically, property in France hasn’t devalued in the same way as it has in other parts of the Eurozone and although the financial gains won’t be dramatic there is an almost guaranteed return on investment over time,’ he said.