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In its latest “French property market report”, the French “notaires” disclosed some interesting facts about foreign and non-resident buyers in France between 2009 and 2013:

  •  70% of foreign buyers on the French property market  already live in France.
  • French expatriates are the biggest group of the non residents buyers, accounting for 30%
  • Non residents buyers account for less than 2% of buyers in France over the 2009-2013 period, 2% in “provinces” (area outside Paris and its suburb) and 1% in the greater Paris (but 3% inside Paris excluding the suburb)
  • Therefore, non-residents do not really impact the overall dynamics of the French property market

However, non-residents can impact the property market in localised area where they account for a noticeable part of the property buyers especially in touristic location highly prized abroad:

  • Most noticeable areas are:  part of the French Alps, the French Mediterranean Riviera (“Cote d’Azur”), and part of the Center/ South-west (e.g.:“Périgord”, “Poitou-Charentes”)
  • The French “departments” with the highest proportion of foreign “non-residents” buyers are: Alpes-Maritimes (Nice-Cannes area in “Cote d’Azur”) 12%, Creuse and Dordogne (11% and 10%, part or close to Périgord), Haute Savoie 9% (North of the French Alps near the Swiss border)
  • In the French Alps, and French Riviera, non residents foreign buyers compete fiercely with local or national buyers, impacting the price dynamic. As a result, Haute-Savoie is the area of the French Alps with the highest level of price, as Alpes Maritimes within the French Riviera.

The notaire study logically discloses that the nationals of neighbouring countries account for a significant part of the non residents buyers in the border regions (e.g.: Swiss in the Alps, Italian in French Riviera, Belgium in the North East, the British in the West- North West – Bretagne, Normandie, Charente-Poitou-).

Compared to the pre financial crisis period (2002-2007) there has been a sharp reduction of the British buyers and a major increase of the Belgium ones. However, the property market in the UK, particularly in London, has been recovering, while the French property market has been dragging down at the same time. Additionally, the positive economic figures in the UK might give confidence to the UK buyers to come back to the French property market in higher number.