Brexit threat should not hamper Brits buying in France

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Brexit threat should not hamper Brits buying in France

from admin on 03/02/2016 11:43 AM

Brexit threat should not hamper Brits buying in France

Image British people looking to buy a property in France this year are being urged not to worry about the vote on the UK staying in the European Union due to take place in June.


There have been scare stories about what might happen if the UK leave the EU bit according to agents in France very little is likely to change. Indeed, they are reporting an uptick in inquiries which suggests that in reality potential buyers are not worried.

According to Trevor Leggett, chairman of Leggett Immobilier which has agents across France, there has been no slowdown in demand from UK purchasers and activity is 40% higher than 12 months ago which was a record year.

'Our view is that even if the vote was to leave the EU there would be little in the way of substantial change. The polls suggest it will be tight but tipped towards an In vote,' said Leggett.

According to Sextant French property even if the public vote to leave the EU nothing would happen suddenly. There would be a period of negotiations over benefits, pensions and healthcare which might affect expats but not necessarily second home owners.

The firm has just reported a record year with an estimated 800,000 sales made in 2015, and buyers are making the most of current market conditions which include favourable exchange rates, low mortgage rates and low prices.

'A Brexit would not stop you from buying your dream house across the Channel. Nany non-EU buyers from as far flung destinations as Australia and China already buy in France undeterred. The Brexit uncertainties lie largely in tax arrangements, obtaining mortgages and the potential weakening of the pound,' said a Sextant spokesman.

'Tax arrangements will depend on negotiations in the grace period following the referendum, though happily double taxation agreements will remain unchanged, ensuring you will never be taxed twice on your income,' he explained.

'In the short term run up to the referendum certainly, the pound could drop as uncertainty and instability will always disturb the markets to some extent. Once an outcome has been reached, we can hope that the markets have enough confidence to begin to level out,' he added.

For British people living in France there may not be much change. If the UK votes to leave it is highly likely that it will become a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). Iceland and Norway are already members.

EEA membership could also result in retention of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card and thus access to healthcare at the same rate as currently. The UK has never been part of the Schengen agreement of totally free border control so nothing would change.

'Whichever way the UK votes, at Sextant we don't believe British interest in buying French property will be dampened, nor do we believe that the dream will become unattainable or unviable,' he concluded.


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Karolina Woźniak
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