UK based French property portal My French House has responded to demand from British buyers looking to relocate to France’s South West by launching a new range of properties in the region.
Patrick Joseph of My French House, who specialises in helping British investors find their ideal home in France, said the area had always been a favourite with holidaymakers but affordable property prices and low cost air travel to the region had boosted its appeal to second home owners making it one of the country’s latest up and coming destinations.
‘This part of France boasts an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and has the benefit of being within easy reach of the coast and the mountains,’ said Joseph.
‘The Atlantic waves make wide ocean fronting resorts like Biarritz, which hosts the annual Women’s World Longboard Championships, a perfect destination for surfing enthusiasts, and the tourist season extends right through the winter with skiers taking advantage of the mountains of the Pyrenees,’ he added.
My French House has recently teamed up with a property expert in the region to increase the supply of homes in Pyrenees Atlantiques following a surge in interest from UK buyers who are being attracted by value for money properties and an area rich in culture and tradition.
‘Food and drink festivals take place all year round with each town hosting its own event. One of the best known is the three-week Pau festival featuring music, dance and theatre. The town also hosts a Formula 3000 Grand Prix and Classic Car Grand Prix and welcomes hundreds of visitors during the mountain stage of the Tour de France,’ explained Joseph.
‘The fortified hillside villages are renowned for their traditional markets, many also hosting lively night markets, and there is some incredible architecture to enjoy in fortified villages such as Oleron Sainte Maire, with its Medieval Saint Croix district,’ he said.
‘Yet despite all the history and culture the very modern and sophisticated resorts of Biarritz and St Jean de Luz, with their designer boutiques and pavement cafes, are within easy reach,’ he added.
Meanwhile, those considering buying in France are being urged to use a mortgage broker as rises in interest rates makes finding the best deal trickier. Tomorrow (Thursday July 07) the European Central Bank is expected to increase the main index rate from 1.25% to 1.50%.
A number of big banks, Credit Agricole, BNP and Societe Generale have already made moves to reduce their mortgage lending to overseas investors with Credit Agricole and BNP withdrawing 100% finance for leasebacks and Societe Generale having already closed its international platform.
This trend for tightening criteria and attitude to risk is continuing with the withdrawal of a three year interest only product by the Caisse d´Epargne, warns John Busby of French lending specialists Athena Mortgages.
‘The overall picture is still good for borrowing in France, however, and the argument for using a broker who deals with many banks and who understands all the criteria is even stronger to save both time and money,’ he said.
‘The recent rate increases and tightening of banking criteria were always going to come after French interest rates reached historic lows last September. French finance is still available at 100% LTV for both classic purchases and investment property at rates which every British homeowner would opt for in a flash,’ he explained.
‘At 100% LTV you have 4.35% capped at 5.35% for the entire 20-year duration or alternatively, you can fix at 4.35% for 25 years at 80%. When you compare with the comparable UK 5 year fixed rates, your eyes water as a UK homeowner. The peace of mind and security offered by these sorts of mortgage products really are areas where the UK has something to learn,’ he added.