French Property Blog: Our Voice from France

Brexit: Some of your questions answered

We look at some of the questions you might be asking about how Brexit could affect your French property purchase.

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Q. When will any changes come into place?

A. The Government has said there will be a new prime minister by September 2nd. He/She then has the choice of whether or not to instigate “article 50” and trigger the leaving process. Negotiations will take up to two years to complete. We believe the earliest any changes will come into effect is Autumn 2018.

Q. What is the most likely outcome?

It’s likely that there would be one of four outcomes. (i) Britain becomes a member of the European Economic Area – the Norway model, (ii) Britain becomes a member of the European Free Trade Association – the Swiss model, (iii) There is a bilateral treaty – the Turkish model, (iv) The world trade organisation model.

We believe that the first of these (joining the EEA) is the most likely given the statements made by leaders of the “leave” campaign but, of course, nobody knows for sure.

Alain Juppé is the favourite to be the next president of France (election in 2017).  He has said,

“British people are welcome in France. I do not see a difficulty there, we want to keep them. They are part of the life of the little villages. They are very well integrated in our daily lives.”

Q. I’m buying a holiday home, how will things change?

A. We see little or no change whatever the outcome. The cost of purchase is the same regardless of nationality and remains amongst the lowest in Europe (Notaires fees are around 7%). There would be no difference to Capital Gains Tax which currently has a basic rate of 34.5% (19% + 15.5% social charges) regardless of nationality.

The annual taxe fonciere (paying towards local services) and taxe d’habitation (paying for residency, including TV licence) will not be affected – these are usually well below the cost of council taxes in the UK.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would also give you state healthcare at a reduced rate and sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions.

If Britain remains outside the Schenghen group then border controls will remain. Technically the French Government could impose some kind of time limit spent in the country but with 400,000 French citizens in the UK this is beyond improbable.

Q. I’m moving permanently, how will things change?

A. The cost of property purchase and taxes payable will not change (see above).

If you are retired and Britain becomes a member of the EEA your pension & health entitlements would be protected.  However, it’s possible (we think unlikely) that Britain could negotiate a deal whereby you would have to prove you have enough retirement income to live on and that you have your own, private health insurance.  As an example, US citizens can take their US pensions to France – they inform the US tax authorities that they pay French tax on it.

In essence, it’s possible that a permanent move would involve additional red tape and the potential extra expense of private health insurance.

Q. Will there be any changes to the property taxes I pay?

A. No

Q. Will I still be able to work in France?

A. Almost certainly yes. With 400,000 French citizens in London alone we can’t see any barriers being put up in this area.

Q. Will I need to get French nationality?

A. No, although many current expats are now applying for dual nationality. This usually takes around 18 months and does involve a language and “cultural knowledge” test.

Q. Will I still be able to get a French mortgage?

A. Yes. Brexit will not effect you getting a French mortgage in any way.

Q. What’s going to happen to the exchange rate?

A. Nobody knows for sure and it’s likely to be volatile. The pound hit a 30 year low against the dollar and is currently trading around €1.20 (not too far below the average rate for the past five years).

Q. How will property prices in France react?

A. The Brexit will have no effect on the bulk of the French market which is driven by domestic demand. There are around 800,000 sales each year with only around 5,000 of these to British buyers. Prices in most areas have been stagnant for some time but the Notaires de France have reported slight rises in each of the past three quarters. We think prices will remain stable for the foreseeable future.

Q. How have the French reacted to the Brexit news?

A. We are one of their closest neighbours and allies. They are surprised and disappointed by the news and there has been widespread coverage of the expat reaction to the news. Trevor Leggett has been interviewed on all the major TV channels as well as by national and local press. They will continue to welcome British buyers, particularly in rural areas where expats contribute to the economy and schooling.

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Brexit: The ‘good life’ in France remains appealing to Brits

As a British run business in France, all of us here at Leggett Immobilier share a love of this part of Europe. From the idyllic lifestyle to the fantastic climate and the beautiful affordable properties, it is no wonder it is the most visited country in the world.

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Following the results of yesterday’s referendum we continue to look forward to offering our clients the opportunity to buy property in France, with the usual high quality service that we have always offered.

Obviously we can’t predict the future, however, our agents have continued to close deals since the result was announced this morning. Coupled with this, our sales support team have been taking enquiries from clients all day and we have even had several calls from British people keen to leave the UK following the Brexit result!

British people have had a love affair with ‘the good life’ in France for decades and this is sure to continue. And it isn’t just the Brits. Our teams have helped many happy buyers from non EU countries to find the home of their dreams, assisting them through the purchase process and beyond.

Here at Leggett Immobilier we pride ourselves on teamwork, our family business outlook and our local knowledge. None of this has changed and we are committed to continuing to offer the very best service to our clients and vendors, as we have always done.

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Peace of mind in your French second home

A second home is a lovely luxury but will sit empty for periods of time. Getting into the habit of doing a few simple things can lessen the chance of you returning to any mishaps. Here we offer a few simple tips.

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–  Leave a key with a neighbour so that there is someone local who can get into your property if necessary
–  Tell the local mairie who you have left the key with
–  Check that your roof is watertight
–  Close all shutters are closed, and don’t block ventilation holes.
–  Ensure your insurance covers any long periods of absence
–  Have you mail collected by a neighbour or forwarded by La Poste
–  Pay your utility bills by direct debit to avoid missing payment dates
–  Of course, do not leave electrical appliances plugged in

We sell numerous French second homes to international clients. Just a few simple steps can help retain your peace of mind when you aren’t around. France remains a very community spirited country with a culture of second home ownership, so you will be sure to find someone who can help you look after yours.

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Never a better time for a second home in the Dordogne!

British Airways have launched a new flight from London City to Bergerac in the Dordogne. Long weekends in this fabulous region famed for fine wines, gourmet cuisine and historic towns have never been so easy – unless you buy a second home there too, of course… try these three for size!

This is a beautifully renovated character property in a pretty hamlet in Perigord Vert. Offers four bedrooms, separate guest quarters, on 1.4 acres.

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http://www.frenchestateagents.com/french-property-for-sale/view/64606LC24/house-for-sale-in-sarrazac-dordogne-aquitaine-france

A charming, romantic French bolthole between Bordeaux and Bergerac for less than €200k! In St Michel de Montagne, this two-bed stone cottage offers scope for expansion and a lovely terrace.

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http://www.frenchestateagents.com/french-property-for-sale/view/64454MK24/house-for-sale-in-saint-michel-de-montagne-dordogne-aquitaine-france

This three-part property close to vineyards in Sigoules would make a fabulous gite complex, with several barns offering lashings of potential for a new life in France with income stream.

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http://www.frenchestateagents.com/french-property-for-sale/view/62704KMV24/commercial-for-sale-in-sigoules-dordogne-aquitaine-france

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Cher & Indre: a Berry ripe for the picking?

As the Centre region of France rises towards the hills of the Limousin and Auvergne is the Berry region that straddles the Cher and Indre departments.
This deeply agricultural area is the true heart of France and is very well located for reaching the Alps, the Atlantic coast and Paris.

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So why else is it worth a look? Natural beauty aside, it’s got a mild climate, great golf courses, dozens of castles and it’s also famous for its food and wine – think the famous crottin de Chavignol goats cheese, truffles, wild boar – and Sancerre. Then there is the great diversity and affordability of the property. The average price of a property is €91,500 to €100,000 and you can get anything from a small stone cottage to a farmhouse, watermill, maison de maitre, or even a chateau for a very unprincely sum. All this reached by four airports, all within two hours. We have some gorgeous properties for sale in the Indre and Cher.

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